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Special interest groups love sound science when it supports their side

Posted: Thursday, March 25, 2004

I would like to respond to Ken Tarbox's letter to the editor on Jan. 14, 2004. His letter basically attempted to announce to the world that the Kenai River Sportfishing Association is a less than informed entity which is out to destroy our local community by allowing too many sockeye salmon into the Kenai River.

Mr. Tarbox also belittled Dan Coffey for attempting to show his special interest view of how sockeye salmon move along the eastside beaches of Cook Inlet. Mr. Tarbox basically pointed his finger at these two and accused them of not "utilizing sound science."

When you point a finger you always have three of them pointing back at yourself and, in this case, a minimum of three.

Mr. Tarbox stated that these people caused regulations to be passed in 2002 which "contributed to the loss of $4 million in sockeye salmon harvest for this community in 2003."

I have a few questions for Mr. Tarbox. Is it sound science to allege a $4 million gillnetting loss while ignoring the millions of dollars gained from allowing those salmon to enter the Kenai River? What is the value of your kid being able to catch a single sockeye salmon in the Kenai River because those sockeyes were allowed into the river?

Is it sound science to also ignore the value those extra salmon will have when their decaying carcasses flush out to the ocean thus helping revive our oceans' ( 50-year low ) depleted nitrogen ratios? I directly ask what is the dollar value of that additional surge of sockeye nitrogen?

True "sound science" would have considered this entire list of these factors, but each of these elements was skillfully left out of his comments for a very good reason. That reason is because special interest groups love sound science when it supports their side of an issue.

Pure sound science does not leave out relative information just because it hurts your side of the issue. It appears very clear that Mr. Tarbox is in fact a "special interest" and not a source of "pure" sound science.

Persons with special interests leave out the sound science which supports their opposition,

that is why we call them special interests.

Any special interest which claims to "only use sound science" automatically only uses the sound science which supports their side of an issue. When a person begins selectively choosing their sound science, the result is no longer pure sound science, it is "special interest sound science." There is a very big difference between pure sound science and special interest sound science.

Some people may have accused Mr. Tarbox of emotional-hyperbolic views, but that is what many special interests do; they hyperbolize only the sound science they like.

Welcome to the wonderful world of the special interest, Mr. Tarbox.

Don Johnson

Soldotna



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