The coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) should be open to oil and gas exploration. Like many Americans, I have felt the financial sting of high gas prices and wonder why this happens. Why aren’t we using what’s available to us for our benefit?

ANWR is estimated to be 19 million acres, roughly the size of South Carolina, but the portion that’s being considered for exploration is only 1.5 million acres out of 19 million. This is such a small portion of the land; the impact on ANWR’s natural environment would be minimal. Currently, America imports roughly 60 percent of its oil from outside its borders, costing $650 million per day. That’s too much. Why send trillions of dollars overseas when it could be kept in America?

I understand that people are concerned for the land and the possible impact that drilling in ANWR may have, but why not use existing evidence to help resolve those concerns. For example, Prudhoe Bay (120 miles west of ANWR) has produced double the amount of oil it was initially expected to contain even after 40 years, not to mention the thousands of jobs it has created. This could be ANWR. We have to consider the financial and economic benefit our nation could receive by exploring the coastal plain of ANWR.

Kelley Lassey

St. George