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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

January 1, 2009 at 4:10 PM

Obama’s pick, Ken Salazar

Check the record

The Pacific Northwest gets good grades for environmental responsibility.

Geography has no bounds, with regard to natural resource stewardship.

That is why any of our local officials, including Sen. Patty Murray and Sen. Maria Cantwell, would have been better for the Department of Interior than Ken Salazar [“Northwestern influence with Obama comes from Congress,” editorial, Dec. 27].

Salazar is a rancher and champion of the Cattlemen’s Association. In 2004, while he was attorney general of Colorado, he was responsible for delisting black-tailed prairie dogs (a vanishing keystone species) for ESA [Ecological Society of America] protection.

Currently, the U.S. Forest Service has pending lawsuits for illegal prairie-dog management. Indefensibly, USFS plans do not consider the highly endangered black-footed ferret when managing prairie dogs, their main source of food. Ferrets are protected under the ESA and cannot exist without prairie dogs.

Millions of taxpayer dollars were spent on recovery efforts, only to have them jeopardized by the failure to protect critical habitat and food source. Sound biological decisions should not be muzzled in favor of politics anywhere in our country.

When it comes to Salazar’s record against a valuable natural resource, the black-tailed prairie dog, will he manage with impartiality or will President-elect Barack Obama be handing over the keys of the hen house to the proverbial fox?

— Jean Williams, Auburn

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