1. ARCTIC DRILLING
At the top of America, oil brings hope of continued prosperity
BARROW, Alaska -- Oil revenues translate into more local jobs and services here. But Native leaders fear their regional prosperity could end if Alaska's oil production continues to dwindle. The oil fields, which produced a record 2 million barrels a day in 1988, yielded only 613,000 barrels a day in 2011. Less oil means less money coming to the communities. To reverse that trend, Barrow's leaders are encouraging the federal government to allow expanded oil development in the borough and off Alaska's northern shores.
2. CAMPAIGN 2012
Obama's approach took 'fracking' off the table
America's shale drilling boom could have been a big issue in this year's presidential election, but it wasn't. As 2011 began, President Obama's environmental regulators were going after drilling and hydraulic fracturing operations in three states. Environmentalists were continuing their calls for increased federal regulation. Republican Mitt Romney was calling Obama the "anti-energy president." But as the campaign draws to a close, two of three enforcement cases have fallen apart and new air pollution rules for fracturing have generated minimal opposition