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Land-Use Issues Need Better Solutions

The article ``Tree-Huggers Fail to Shift Western Politics,'' Nov. 2, was right on target, as confirmed by the election results.

For years, environmentalists have been banking on environmental activists from the East and California to move into Western metropolitan areas and tip the scales against traditional land stewardship practices.

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The ``War on the West'' and related property rights themes resonated in eight Senate races, of which the Republicans won six. In the House, 12 Democratic incumbents lost in races where property rights was a prominent issue. And three Democratic governorships fell to the GOP where this was an issue.

By contrast, no Republican incumbent who took a prominent position on property rights was defeated. Independent exit polls in Oregon and Washington showed that almost twice as many people believed that the administration's policies on land use and natural resources hurt rather than helped their state.

The forest industry's hope is that the administration will work with Congress in a bipartisan fashion to produce a consensus solution for land-use issues. Mark Rey, Washington American Forest & Paper Association

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