Addresses course outcomes 1-4:

recognize and explain how the scientific method is used to solve problems
make observations and discriminate between scientific and pseudoscientific explanations
weigh evidence and make decisions based on strengths and limitations of scientific knowledge and the scientific method
use knowledge of biological principles, the scientific method, and appropriate technologies to ask relevant questions, develop hypotheses, design and conduct experiments, interpret results, and draw conclusions

c) Fracking (hydraulic fracturing) and tar sands (oil sands). With society’s dependence on nonrenewable fossil fuels, the oil & gas industry is turning to the use of hydraulic fracturing and tar (oil) sands to extract natural gas and oil respectively. A friend asks you “What’s all this controversy in the news about fracking and tar sands?” Briefly explain to your friend how hydraulic fracturing and tar (oil) sands are used to obtain these fossil fuels. Then, in more detail, describe the environmental problems that may result from these processes and why they are controversial. Issues that may be addressed involves, but are not limited to, water, air and soil pollution, effects on human health, effects on other species and natural ecosystems. Finally, give your opinions on possible solutions to these environmental problems, with your reasoning backed by the references that you studied. The following websites from EPA may be helpful:

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