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Stakeholders in the drilling debate

created Jan 24, 2018 04:27 PM

This blog is meant to accompany the recent Current Context on offshore oil drilling, A Time to Drill.

The Education and the Environment Initiative (EEI) includes a history-social science curriculum unit entitled Many Voices, Many Visions: Analyzing Contemporary Environmental Issues. Lesson 4, “Roots of Controversy” examines the debate over whether to drill for oil in The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Students read primary sources from a diverse group of stakeholders, including:

  • The National Resources Defense Council
  • U.S. Representative from Alaska, Don Young
  • National Review Online, reporting on Eskimo positions on oil drilling
  • Gwich’in Steering Committee, Fairbanks, Alaska, “Protect the Sacred Place Where Life Began”
  • Department of the Interior report on energy production in The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
  • 1960 Public Land Order establishing The Arctic National Wildlife Range

Students have the opportunity to study each of these perspectives in order to better understand the roots of the controversy over oil drilling. After reading through each of these sources, students have an opportunity to analyze the sources with the help of an analysis scoring tool. Finally, students work through a chart where they identify the interests/values and goals of each stakeholder, and then answer the question “In what ways do the participants/ goals conflict and result in controversies or disagreements?” This exercise is meant to help students understand the social, economic, political, and environmental aspects of the oil drilling debate. Students can then apply these four lenses, as well as their habit of examining multiple perspectives, to other debates in the news.