Changes to PA Endangered Species List May Threaten Funding

  • Bills in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, which would change how endangered species like Great Egrets are listed, may make the state ineligible for certain federal funds. Photo: Mike Baird

September 6, 2013
By Mary Wilson

The federal government is warning that changing the way endangered species are listed in Pennsylvania could mean a loss of millions of dollars in federal grants.

Republican-backed proposals in the commonwealth’s House and Senate would require that two independent state commissions send their proposed endangered labels to another agency for review, as well as receive input from state lawmakers.

A letter from the U.S. Department of the Interior Fish and Wildlife Service says the loss of federal grants is a possibility for both the commonwealth’s Fish and Boat Commission and Game Commission, because they would no longer have sole control over the funds they’d be receiving.

Proponents believe the additional oversight is needed to ensure a single agency’s endangered species declaration doesn’t put the brakes on industry and land use. Democratic Representative Steve McCarter of Montgomery County however opposes the bills and says he takes seriously the potential loss of federal funds.

“We’re looking at approximately 28 million dollars that are in danger to Pennsylvania as a result of passage of this bill,” says McCarter.