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We Get Hit Twice to Protect Fish

by Maxine Keesling
Readers' View, Capital Press - June 7, 2002

At a time we're turning ourselves inside out, financially and land-use-wise, to back-to-nature our environment to protect fish, we're also being asked to pay for overcoming nature?

Even though death is natural, we're to pay for forestalling death for a cute fish-chomping orca whale, even as we pay salaries for government employees to ensure the health and long life of huge walrus herds that also are intensive fish chompers.

Meanwhile, taxpayer and private costs -- already in the billions -- for preserving and restoring public and private land to pre-European condition to benefit fish, will be ratcheted up under Growth Management Act requirements. All Washington cities and counties, within a deadline between 2004 and 2007, depending on location, must redo their critical areas regulations.

The state offices of Ecology and Community Development have kindly spewed forth volumes of "guidelines," recommendations" and "model laws" for adoption into forceable local environmental regulations. The already-formulated regulatory wordings are accompanied by state planning money and help.

One example of the new proposed fish-habitat regulatory proposals is what's required to cut a hazard tree in a critical area or its new, huge, government-managed buffer zone. Submit a report from a certified arborist; leave all cuttings within the management zone; "replace any trees that are felled or topped with new trees at a ratio of two replacement trees for each tree felled or topped in accordance with an approved restoration plan."

We're hit coming and going. We pay for fish protection; then we pay again to artificially lengthen the lives of major fish predators that consume the saved fish.

Maxine Keesling, Woodinville, Washington
We Get Hit Twice to Protect Fish
Capital Press - June 7, 2002

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