Proposals Would Change Oversight of PA Endangered Species List

  • Decisions about endangered species in Pennsylvania, like the Indiana Bat, may go through legislative committees and a state regulatory review agency. Photo: Indiana DNR; Rich Fields

August 24, 2013
By Mary Wilson

The Pennsylvania Game Commission as well as the Fish & Boat Commission have long been in charge of creating the list of endangered species in Pennsylvania.  But some lawmakers, including Jeff Pyle, a Republican from Armstrong County, are sponsoring legislation that will make the process of determing which species will be on the list more accessible to industry.

The proposal, which has been introduced in both the House and the Senate, would make the Game and Fish & Boat Commissions submit the list they create for approval by legislative committees and the Independent Regulatory Review Committee. According to Rep. Pyle, the proposed changes are meant to make sure that industry and job creation are not being harmed by the regulations that limit activity that may affect endangered species.

"We’ve had questions as to their science and there’s been a lot of objection to there not being an appeal process and it’s come from a hell of a lot of sectors. I mean, lumbermen, coal guys, builders, gas guys," he says. 

While the commissions involved in creating the list believe they are being stripped of their power, Rep. Pyle believes differently.

"Their mission is to protect the game species of Pennsylvania. And me as a legislator, part of my mission is to make sure my people don’t see widespread unemployment," Pyle says.