Another method to add to the price of the pipeline, and again to the price that you the individual will pay at the gas pump, was the almost incredible use of fines. On one occasion a vehicle with sightseers on board ran off the road to let a truck go by. No damage was done —there was nothing off the road, just the tundra. Remember that it would take an ax to break through that tundra. Nevertheless, there was a fine of $10,000 levied because that vehicle ran off the road. Of course, it was not the sightseers that got fined, but the ARCO company.
People living in the lower 48 will find it hard to believe that such practices continued, but they surely did. Another case was where a pickup truck drove into the river to turn around. A security guard had locked the gate, and so this was the way that the driver solved his own problem. Again the ARCO company got fined $10,000 for not making an adequate turn around. They hurt nothing driving their vehicle into the river, and it is really impossible to figure out why they should have been fined—but fined they were.
The amounts of these fines were announced in the paper very often, and there would be a small write-up. It didn't make big news, for the policy seemed to be to keep these matters in low key. It is ultimately the poor guy who buys gas for his automobile that pays those fines of $10,000 and more—for the most trivial offenses against the huge number of regulations to which the oil companies were subjected.
Not only were there very heavy fines, but also they dragged the work out. One section of road was supposed to be a five week project, but because of government meddling, it was about 3 months before it was finished. The government tinkered with the administration, fined the company, and stopped them in all sorts of ways. They told them what they could and could not do, when they could work and when they could not. At one time there were 22 government monitors working on that one section of road. They came from such departments as the Department of the Interior, the Department of Fisheries and Game, and the U.S. Geographic Coastal Survey. Most of them were Federal workers, but some were State workers also. Those 22 workers were running around surveying the same stretch of road at the same time, day after day. While that stretch of road was being built, some 18 fines were levied—in a three month period. Every one of those fines was for at least $10,000.
Excerpt from The Energy Non Crisis