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SPOTLIGHT
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Story lacking

Published on -11/26/2013, 10:43 AM

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Story lacking

I read with dismay Mike Corn's article titled "Hearing looks at wildlife agency's 'coordination,' science."  

I had expected an unbiased account of the Public Hearing regarding the proposed U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's threatened listing of the lesser prairie chicken but was sorely disappointed.

The article focused almost entirely on Mr. Corn's dislike for the procedural aspects and the supposed lack of KNRC's ability to be impartial.

The tone of Mr. Corn's piece did nothing but paint the efforts of well more than 100 elected officials who represent more than one-third of Kansas as a futile effort with minimal value.

The article failed to accurately state how the costs of the Five State Plan will affect local economies, and it neglected to mention hours of critical testimony that any objective reporter would have readily identified as valuable and within his professional duty to report. The depth, quality and importance of testimony received was striking, but Mr. Corn's readers were left uninformed.  

There are many issues that should have been covered in this article, ranging from the apparent closed door collusion of government with industry to the additional costs every western Kansan may soon see on their power bills. The article entirely missed important facts from the blatant disregard for the law demonstrated by federal and state agencies, to the additional $19,000 to $38,000 home builders may be levied, to the needed tax increases in all the affected counties, to the $72,000 to $145,000 per mile fees for private roads and a myriad of other economy crippling costs and hooks that will be a reality once the Five State Plan is implemented.

Wrap this all up with the fact that hours of professional testimony were given that refuted the scientific basis for the listing itself and the mechanism for increasing lesser prairie chicken habitat hinges on conservation easements that will lower tax revenues and put land owners in danger of serfdom and it is evident that The Hays Daily News readers have been poorly served.

Even the testimony of two state senators and two state representatives failed to compete for Mr. Corn's ink.        

It is clear that the real lack of impartiality is not found within the honest efforts of our now 33-county coalition, but in Mr. Corn's inability to put aside the bias he harbor's against our legitimate efforts.

Our coalition is far from finished, and your newspaper has ongoing opportunities and responsibilities to accurately report our activities.  While we don't expect your reporters to overlook issues they find troubling, we do hope in the future your newspaper will bring to your readership the actual content and value of our work -- as what we are revealing has great bearing on the future of thousands of Kansans.

Ken Klemm, Goodland, Sherman County commissioner and president of the Kansas Natural Resource Coalition

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