Today PEC submitted the following communication to the House of Representatives on potential legislation that would again try to curtail species protection in Pennsylvania.
We understand draft legislation is being circulated that is intended to replace HB1576, which was a fatally flawed bill that would have curtailed protection for rare, threatened and endangered species in Pennsylvania. That legislation was opposed by conservation and sportsmen groups throughout the state.
We have also heard that the House may try to quickly introduce and vote on this new legislation, as early as next week.
The opposition to this legislation, which includes a significant number of House members from both caucuses, underscores the reality that this legislation is ill advised and unnecessary to address the valid needs of the regulated community. This legislation is designed first and foremost to inhibit species protection in our Commonwealth.
Transparency and cooperation are important goals, and there are several ways they can be accomplished without new legislation. In fact, the resource agencies are already undertaking considerable steps to improve the Pennsylvania Natural Diversity Inventory to provide applicants with greater access to data. The notion that the Independent Regulatory Review Commission, or a politically appointed panel with the authority to stop listing proposals on very loose grounds, enhances the integrity of the process is not credible.
Are their ways to validate the existing process and provide greater cooperation between resource protection agencies and the regulated community? Certainly – but HB1576 and its successor do not seek that solution.
We urge you to stop advancing the framework of HB1576, and instead work openly with the resource protection agencies, the regulation community, AND conservation and sportsmen interests to collaboratively find the right solutions.
Thank you for your consideration,
Vice President, Legal & Government Affairs
Pennsylvania Environmental Council