Learn more about bills in the state House and Senate that would change the way Pennsylvania protects endangered and threatened species.
Senate Bill 1047.
House Bill 1576.
Read Post-Gazette coverage here, here and here.
Supporting the bill:
Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State Camp Lessee’s Association, Marcellus Shale Coalition, Associated Petroleum Industries of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Association.
Link to the position statement of Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania State Camp Lessee's Association.
Opposing the bill:
Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited, Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, Pennsylvania Trapper’s Association, Pennsylvania Chapters of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Quality Deer Management Association, Izaak Walton League of America, Pheasants Forever, Pennsylvania Game Commission, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
Read the Trout Unlimited position statement below:
Today (Jan. 9), Pennsylvania’s largest sportsmen’s groups joined forces to send a strong message to members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly: Hunters and anglers throughout the Commonwealth oppose House Bill 1576 and Senate Bill 1047.
The Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, the Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited, the Pennsylvania Trapper’s Association, and the Pennsylvania Chapters of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Quality Deer Management Association, the Izaak Walton League of America and Pheasants Forever, sent a letter to Pennsylvania legislators today urging them to put science before politics, when it comes to fish and wildlife conservation. Collectively, these groups represent more than 100,000 sportsmen and women in Pennsylvania—a constituency that generates nearly $1.5 billion annually for the state’s economy.
At issue are House Bill 1576 and Senate Bill 1047—two bills that would fundamentally change how the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission and the Pennsylvania Game Commission operate, when it comes to establishing protections for sensitive fish and wildlife in the commonwealth.
“Both the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission currently have a transparent, rigorous process for listing species and wild trout streams that is based on science, while at the same time limiting bureaucracy, and overregulation,” said Melody Schell of the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs. “These bills seek to bury our commissions in regulatory obstacles that will not fix the problems that the proponents of the bill are seeking to address.”
The bills would eliminate the independence of Pennsylvania Fish and Boat and Game Commission by subjecting their decisions to designate wild trout streams, or to list threatened or endangered species, to review by the Independent Regulatory Review Commission and legislative committees.
“It is clear that the proposed bills are intended to slow down, or even bring to a halt, the process of listing wild trout streams and as a consequence, streams where wild trout are present are left unprotected, ” said Brian Wagner, president of the Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited. “As the recent Act 13 Supreme Court ruling pointed out, the Commonwealth has an affirmative duty to protect natural resources—including fish and wildlife—for current and future generations.”
Pennsylvania has a long and proud tradition of allowing independent commissions staffed by nationally-recognized wildlife and aquatic experts to manage the fish and wildlife of the Commonwealth without undue political interference. These bills would end that tradition and undermine the longstanding independence of the Game Commission and the Fish & Boat Commission and severely limit their ability to protect Pennsylvania's threatened and endangered species—opening up the door for increased federal oversight and potential loss of federal funds under the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson Funds.