EDITORIAL LETTERS

By , Robert H. Silk, and Steven Sternbach

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.

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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

Who's to blame in Bosnia?

The editorial ''No Excuses,'' Aug. 22, puts responsibility for the genocide on all ''sides,'' as though one ''side'' was as good as the other. This misstates the case. The slaughterhouse known as Bosnia stems from the ethnic cleansing and massacres of its non-Serb inhabitants. It is the fruit of the murderous pursuit of a ''greater Serbia'' in Bosnia by decimating its non-Serbs. The Serb leaders stand indicted by the War Crimes Tribunal for genocide and war crimes. The only fault of the Bosnian Muslims is that they fight in self-defense. The ''plague on both your houses'' editorial mocks their resistance.

Robert H. Silk New York

Forget gardens; what about wetlands?

The author's concern for his aunt's unlawful wetlands garden in the opinion-page article ''Newt, the Pro-Environment Zookeeper,'' Aug. 18, suggests that the malaise in government today has less to do with the machinery of government than with a citizenry more concerned with private, petty gripes than with issues of national and global significance.

For the sake of his aunt's garden, the author suggests dismantling all the hard-won environmental legislation of the past two decades. Doesn't he realize that for every aunt wanting a garden, there are 10 developers waiting to drain wetlands and put up condos and shopping centers? Can't his aunt be content with raising frogs and herons instead of tomatoes? Gardens come and go, but if a critical mass of wetlands is lost, the vast majority of our migrating birds and other wildlife will likewise be lost - permanently.

Steven Sternbach Brookline, Mass.

Your letters are welcome. For publication they must be signed and include your address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published and none acknowledged. Letters should be addressed to ''Readers Write'' and may be sent by mail to One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, by fax to 617-450-2317, or by Internet e-mail (200 words maximum) to OPED@RACHEL.CSPS.COM.

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