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Property owners rally against 4(d) exemption

"HANSVILLE - A standing room only crowd packed into the Hansville Community Center Thursday night to hear what the Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners called the truth about the proposed 4(d) exemption. Kitsap County Commissioner Jan Angel, alliance members and biologist Dr. Robert Crittenden rallied support for not supporting the 4(d) exemption and other strict salmon regulations by the National Marine Fisheries Service. It's kind of like Alice In Wonderland's Cheshire Cat...you never can quite get a hold of it, said Jean Sherrard, describing the 4(d) rule. There are no safe havens under the 4(d), he said. Kitsap County and local city governments are seeking some exemptions under the 4(d) rule of the revised Endangered Species Act. The exemptions, if allowed, would protect the governments from third party lawsuits launched when the stricter regulations regarding salmon go into effect. Alliance members said if the county goes forward with the 4 (d) exemption it would put property rights on the altar for sacrifice. Every square foot of your property will be monitored by the county government for the NFMS, said Vivian Henderson, executive director for the alliance. She went on to say that commissioners Chris Endresen and Tim Botkin (who were not invited to the meeting), were too eager to hand over individual property rights to the federal government. She went on to describe how under the salmon protection plan, which is in its draft stages, property owners would have to get a marine assessment of their property before building new structures or changing them. She pointed out the assessments would make sure there were proper conditions for the fish. Commissioner Angel spoke out against the 4(d) exemption saying she will continue to fight for property rights despite being outvoted on the board of commissioners. I grew up on a farm, so I know what the land meant to us, Angel said. We have to pass the word along. If you think the federal government can take care of your property and natural resources better than you can, then there's a problem, she said. The alliance offered meeting goers a selection of letters, pamphlets and books to browse through regarding salmon and the power struggle behind protection of the fish. Crittenden, who has spent several years monitoring salmon populations said modern ecology comes down to mathematics, not government regulations. He told the audience that salmon population decreases are from overfishing, and crossbreeding salmon species, not habitat destruction. At the meeting's conclusion people were encouraged to contact their legislators concerning the 4(d) exemption and to join the property owners alliance. Lend us your voice, Henderson said. "

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