Sen. Smith Says Gore Loss
by Associated Press
Addressing people angry about the policies,
the Oregon Republican says he will work for Gore's defeat
ROSEBURG -- After getting "an earful" from people frustrated with proposed regulations to restore Northwest salmon runs, Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore., said Monday he could only help them work for a change in administration.
"Frankly, I'm left with helping them play defense until they can get a change at the top," Smith said in an interview following a briefing that was attended by about 150 people on proposed federal regulations to restore 14 dwindling runs of salmon.
Although he did not directly urge people to vote for Texas Gov. George W. Bush in the upcoming presidential elections, Smith said afterward that change in federal salmon regulations would require defeating Vice President Al Gore.
"These are his environmental policies," Smith said. "They will only be magnified if he is elected."
The 4 (d) rules, which get their name from the authorizing section of the Endangered Species Act, have drawn harsh criticism at hearings in the Northwest from people who fear they will endanger private property and water rights.
The National Marine Fisheries Service has promoted the rules as a new direction in salmon conservation, with protection from federal regulation liability for local and state entities that adopt and follow approved practices.
Expected to be adopted later this year, the rules will apply to watersheds in an area covering 159,000 square miles in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and California.
Smith said he was impressed by a presentation by Portland attorney Wendie Kellington, who advised that the protection rules were so vague and inconsistent they would be eventually overturned by a lawsuit.
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