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Obama's action a good start at preserving Alaska's ANWR

To the editor: I have been to Alaska only once, but after visiting, I am anxious to see more and in greater depth. It is extraordinary and awe inspiring; there is nothing like it, and unless we take the steps President Obama outlined to ban oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, it is at risk. ("Obama proposes expanding oil-drilling ban in Alaska wildlife refuge," Jan. 25)

The question is simple: Do we want to protect this wilderness or develop it? I have yet to see how we can do both, protecting our environment while harmlessly exploiting its resources.

The president's proposal will not fly in a Republican-controlled Congress, but the awareness it raises is critically important and a good start to preserving this precious jewel.

Richard Woolsey, Westlake Village

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To the editor: I found an interesting parallel in the two front-page sidebars in Monday's paper.

I started on the left side, reading about the "Harsh rule of Islamic State." I reflected on this primitive and harsh approach to governing people in the Middle East. Sad, to put it mildly.

Then I skipped over to the right side, reading about Obama's action on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Again, I reflected on an authoritarian method of governing. How much can be taken from our populace before there is nothing left?

I wonder if others similarly noticed this parallel — the first we discuss over a cup of coffee, the second we just shrug our shoulders and move on.

Bill Elliott, Solana Beach

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