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As the human population increases and less-developed countries increase their need for fossil fuels, our need for energy only increases. How will we meet our energy needs in the future? We could drill in areas that were previously off-limits. We could utilize resources that are more difficult to extract. Fracking is a way to mine domestic fossil fuel that were previously inaccessible. We could decrease energy use through conservation and increased efficiency. We could shift from non-renewable to renewable resources. We could increase harvesting of fossil fuels by tapping previously unused deposits and developing new methods of harvesting, such as fracking. Of course, these approaches are not mutually exclusive.

The U.S. National Wildlife Refuge system protects 150 million acres of land. At over 19 million acres, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) is the largest of the refuges. The 1.5 million acre Coastal Plain area is thought to contain both oil and natural gas reserves, leading to the question – should drilling be allowed in ANWR, or is protection of the wildlife that lives there more important than the fossil fuel reserves? This controversy has gone on since the 1970s, with many pro and con arguments.

More about ANWR

U.S. Fish and Wildlife http://www.fws.gov/refuges/ (Links to an external site.) http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Arctic/about.html (Links to an external site.) Arctic Refuge and the Wilderness Act: There’s a Connectionhttp://www.fws.gov/refuge/arctic/wildernessconnection.html (Links to an external site.)

Arctic Power anwr.org (Links to an external site.) Top ten reasons to support ANWR development (Links to an external site.) Making the Case for ANWR (Links to an external site.)

Alaska Dispatch News. January 26, 2015 Obama plays to extremists instead of reason in bid to close off ANWR. (Links to an external site.)

Alaska Journal of Commerce 2015.03.12 State estimates $150B to treasury if ANWR ever opened. (Links to an external site.)

Conservation groups

http://www.defenders.org/arctic-national-wildlife-refuge (Links to an external site.)

http://refugeassociation.org/advocacy/refuge-issues/arctic/ (Links to an external site.)

http://www.audubon.org/conservation/arctic-national-wildlife-refuge (Links to an external site.)http://www.audubon.org/conservation/arctic-refuge (Links to an external site.)https://www.sierraclub.org/lay-of-the-land/2017/10/arctic-what-s-stake (Links to an external site.)

Slide show and video of the area in Alaska that may be drilled for oil and the animals that live there:

Does politics influence energy policy and conservation areas? Read below….

When Obama was president

With Trump as president

Re ANWR

Re drilling off the coast of Florida

Your Task

Read about the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge then discuss the following questions. While the articles below and attached are not recent, the basic arguments haven’t changed. You need to (1) post your thoughts and (2) reply to at least one other student’s posting. Your comments should be substantive and reflect some thought and research into the issue.

  • Should exploration and drilling be allowed in ANWR or should we forego the fossil fuels that are there to preserve the habitat and animals that live there?
  • Should drilling and/or fracking be allowed offshore of Florida? What about in the rest of the Gulf of Mexico?
  • Does everyone have the right to drive whatever kind of car they want, regardless of gas mileage and the impact that our need for oil has on the environment?
  • Does everyone have the right to use however much electricity they want, regardless of resources used or the impacts on our environment?
  • Do you agree or disagree with the commentaries below from the Florida Times-Union newspaper?
  • If you said no to drilling in ANWR, drilling and fracking off of Florida, but yes to individual rights to drive any car and use unlimited electricity – how can we manage to do both sustainably?

Articles to read and comment upon:

1. Less Drilling a Fantasy to Politicians Mark Woods article.docx (Links to an external site.)

2. Florida must move away from fossil-fueled power plants Apr 6, 2015 http://jacksonville.com/opinion/letters-readers/2015-04-06/story/lead-letter-florida-must-move-away-fossil-fueled-power