To the editor:

One cannot give reasonable explanation as to why we send America's young men and women to Saudi Arabia to protect that country's oil, under the pretext we need that oil, and then turn our backs on our own he vast reserves of oil and gas.Those reserves are in place in the Overthrust Belt that starts in the Brook Mountain range of Alaska and runs south through Canada and the McKenzie Mountains, taking in all of Idaho, the western half of Montana, western Wyoming and Utah and the eastern half of Nevada.

The petroleum industry estimates that more than 128 billion barrels of oil and 135 trillion cubic feet of gas are in place in this geological formation. The BLM has identified several of these petroleum reservoirs in the Overthrust Belt in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) as being in place in several wilderness study areas.

It does not make sense to me and the majority of those living in Utah for the Department of Interior to lock away billions of barrels of oil and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas from being developed.

Why lock away a product used by everyone in the United States under the Wilderness Act, making it impossible to ever be developed because of the antics of a few wilderness fanatical organizations and, at the same time, send thousands of American men and women in our armed services to protect the oil fields of the Middle East?

It is not only travesty, but trickery and an underhanded trade-off to send young American men and women half way around the world to protect another country's resources and back away from that which we have lying in place in the western half of Utah, or to put it another way, the large reserves of oil and gas in place in Utah, in our own back yard.

Paul Young

Western Association of Land Users