Drill for oil in small portion of Alaska wilderness refuge

In your “Going Green” Special Section on June 27, a member from Washington state (Republican Rep. Dave Reichert) opposed opening even a few thousand acres of the Arctic Coastal Plain in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge for energy development. While I strongly support his emphasis on developing renewable energy and alternative technology to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, the truth is that we will be dependent on oil and gas for many years.

Right now this country produces just over 5 million barrels of oil a day of the 22 million we consume. Even if every car and truck in America were powered by natural gas or electricity, we would need all of our oil and much more for petrochemicals and building supplies. A few thousand acres of the coastal plain in Alaska likely equals at least half of our nation’s proven oil reserves. It can provide a “bridge” to an era of wind, solar, geothermal, ocean, nuclear and hydrogen energy.

We need petroleum so badly on the West Coast that not one barrel of Alaska oil has been exported to Asia in years. New technologies, from directional drilling to ice-road development, will allow development without any harm to caribou and the environment. Going “green” does not mean sending our “greenbacks” overseas to buy fuels instead of producing energy at home. At the least, the area should be fully explored that can be done in winter without any environmental impacts so we finally make an informed rather than emotional decision on the area’s future.

~ From Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Washington


Infected Morris puts politics above principle

(Regarding column, “If Bush pulls out the troops, it might save the GOP,” June 27.) Dick Morris’s point that President Bush “maybe is getting smart enough to extricate himself and his party from the mess in Iraq” by withdrawing troops is wrong for two reasons: First, it ignores, and therefore betrays, the fundamental principle behind the very purpose of our presence and mission, which is to stabilize the country and region and therefore to deny terrorism a safe haven from which to wage further and greater terror on the West and us; and second, it would be pathetically, patently, transparently and purely political (and herein lies Morris’s inherent Clintonesque influence of putting politics above principle, of which he remains latently infected, despite his Herculean and commendable efforts of the past decade to disinfect himself).

True, the Iraqis have not stepped up as they should, and true, it is more than difficult to ask our brave soldiers to continue to make the most admirable sacrifices they and their families so generously give to the Iraqis and us. Nevertheless, Morris’s position and that of the cut-and-run Democrats, and increasingly some Republicans, fails to take into account the substantive reality of a premature withdrawal, which would be: emboldened terrorists and a weakened coalition; greater death, destruction and chaos in Iraq; roughly 3,500 American military deaths and countless wounded in vain; and a potentially irreparable undermining of the value of America’s promise to those in need. And for what? So that it might save a political party in an election a year and a half away!

Respectfully, Dick, you’ve lost the forest through the trees. …

~From Franz P. Frechette, Boulder, Colo.


Ah, the value they all share

I see that members of Congress have approved for themselves another pay raise. It is good to see that bipartisanship has returned to Washington.

~ From Chuck Mann, Greensboro, N.C.