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EDITORIAL LETTERS

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Involve Private Sector To Protect Resources

The front-page article ''Endangered Species Watchdog Now Finds Itself Endangered,'' Aug. 22, prompted me to respond. The National Biological Service (NBS) does seem innocuous enough, but it is really a wolf in sheep's clothing, posing a threat to private property rights.

It is important to note that the service's scientific data to which the author refers is often illegally collected information. Furthermore, NBS is not obligated to share its information with landowners. Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt's claim that ''no employee of the NBS will enter private property without permission from the owner'' is simply not enough.

It is ironic that those who bestow the best care upon private property, the private landowners, are those who stand to be the most harmed by the National Biological Service. Congress is not seeking to ''curtail'' the service's activities; it is only trying to protect landowner's rights.

It is important to conserve natural resources, but the burden of protection should not be placed on individual landowners through restrictions and regulations. Rather, involving the private sector and protecting incentives rather than disincentives, we can encourage protection of environmental resources.

Greg Ruehle Washington

Director, Private Lands, Water and Environment

National Cattlemen's Association

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