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DRILLING IN REFUGE IS NOT THE ANSWER

I was most impressed by the Feb. 5 News editorial "Drilling for policy." Yes, America needs an energy policy and needs to reduce dependence on foreign oil, but destroying our arctic wilderness is a big price to pay for a six-month supply of oil. In fact, even the six-month figure may be optimistic.

There are those who believe that oil exploration can be environmentally sensitive, despite the industry's not-so-stellar record to date. But if they are wrong, the consequences cannot be reversed. And in this case, we will have lost our last arctic coastal plain wildlife refuge, which is supposed to be just that - a refuge.

As The News suggested, an energy policy based on conservation rather than increasing production is surely more responsible in both ecological and humanitarian terms. Regulation of sport utility vehicles would reduce our consumption significantly and improve the oil situation far more than any supplies we might obtain from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

JOAN HEROLD

East Aurora

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