Fish and Wildlife appointee draws fire

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SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) -- The appointment of an Eastern Washington environmentalist to the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission has upset some rural officials, who say their small-town values are unfairly being pushed aside in favor of big-city views about what's best for nature.

Okanogan County commissioners this week sent a letter to Gov. Chris Gregoire complaining that Jay Kehne does not reflect their opinions, in part because he supports the continued protection of wolves in the region. Kehne works for Conservation Northwest, a Bellingham-based environmental group that also supports continued government protection of wolves.

Kehne, a longtime resident of Eastern Washington, said there is no conflict of interest in being an environmentalist and a member of the Fish and Wildlife Commission.