The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, located in northeastern Alaska and the largest such refuge in the United States, has been a battleground for decades between those who want the area to remain "the last great wilderness" and those who want Congress to approve oil exploration on ANWR's sensitive coastal plain.
Between 5.7 billion and 16 billion barrels of oil could be lurking beneath the coastal plain, but environmental groups have been successful in lobbying Congress and the White House to prevent drilling.
Meantime, though, another pristine area is facing oil development. And environmental groups haven't been as successful in preventing drilling.
Royal Dutch Shell and other oil companies have snatched up billions of dollars in federal leases to explore for oil in the Arctic Ocean. And Shell is just beginning to launch its drilling program.
Would hunting for crude in a pristine wilderness on land be safer than from drill ships in the Arctic Ocean?
In the series "Arctic Ocean vs. ANWR," Alaska Dispatch explores this question, one which has largely gone unanswered as the drumbeat increases for drilling off the northern shores of Alaska.