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Drilling for Oil in Alaska's 'Refuge' Will Harm Wildlife

Regarding the opinion-page article "Oil Exploration Can Be a Boon to Alaskans and Environment," Oct. 13: Alaskan Congressman Don Young's exploitive attitude rings out in his first sentence when he labels the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) "the most barren and desolate region of America." When I saw the place, I observed the most magnificent spectacle of wildlife I've seen outside Africa's Serengeti. I hike extensively in Washington State, but I never truly saw wild country until I visited ANWR.

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Mr. Young practices deliberate deception when he implies that all the Alaskan Native peoples support oil extraction in ANWR. Drilling is ardently opposed by the Gwich'in people, who depend on the caribou that give birth on the coastal plain. The Gwich'in believe their traditional way of life hangs in the balance.

We do not need the oil. If ANWR is sacrificed, it will be for the personal enrichment of oil and construction executives. The populist arguments are merely a distraction to manipulate the electorate. ANWR is precious; keep it intact.

Pamela Harlow


Mr. Young is to be commended for emphasizing energy independence as a national priority. We should not wait, as he correctly states, for the occurrence of another oil embargo. If Young were a true conservative, however, he would be in favor of conservation. What are we to do when the alleged oil in ANWR runs out?

The United States should emphasize conservation and the development of renewable energy resources, rather than the exploitation of finite ones. Since the US demand for energy resources is not likely to subside, energy independence is a rational goal.

Young's quest to create jobs may be truly motivated by his desire to serve the immediate economic interests of his constituency, but a long-term solution to this nation's appetite for energy it is not.

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Michael R. Stieber


Contrary to Mr. Young's claims, wildlife has hardly thrived in the Prudhoe Bay oil fields. Predators - wolves and grizzly bears - have either been driven out by the industrial zone or killed because they ventured too close.

The odds of economically recoverable oil underlying the Arctic Refuge are slim to none. No amount of oil can justify desecrating this unique area. We in Alaska can only hope cooler heads in Congress see Don Young and his allies for the extremists that they are and stop their campaign to destroy natural treasures.

Dan Ritzman

Fairbanks, Alaska

US, not Canada, avoids metric system

The last lines of the interesting article "British Loath to Swap Measure for Measure," Oct. 2, says North America is the bastion of the English measurement system. Only the United States, of course. Canada is metric and seems to be getting used to it.

Dan Warner

Bellingham, Wash.

Fill jury box with professionals

The O.J. Simpson verdict, "not guilty" on all counts, reveals that our court system is in dire need of repair.

Juries should be selected from a pool of professional persons who are graduates of specific disciplines, excluding law, and trained in the task of being a juror. This might provide more-equal judgment for an accused person, wealthy or poor, and of any race, that is on trial.

Claude D. Peters

Prescott, Ariz.

Your letters are welcome. For publication they must be signed and include your address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published and none acknowledged. Letters should be addressed to "Readers Write" and may be sent by mail to One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, by fax to 617-450-2317, or by Internet e-mail (200 words maximum) to OPED@RACHEL.CSPS.COM.

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