Environment
4:07 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

House Committee Vote on Endangered Species Bill Likely Next Week

Environmentalists are standing firm in their opposition of adding more oversight to the process of designating endangered species in Pennsylvania.

The proposal is scheduled for a House committee vote next week.

It would make the two independent agencies charged with designating endangered species get approval from a state review board, as well as panels made up of state lawmakers.

Jeff Schmidt, with the Pennsylvania Sierra Club, says it will gut Pennsylvania’s process for protecting wildlife.

"What’s at stake here are the species, not simply some kind of inside the Beltway, arcane process that has no impact on the real world," he said. "It will have a huge impact on rare, threatened, and endangered species going forward in time."

Industries that want to build or disturb land that hosts an endangered species must go to the appropriate state agency for permission.

Supporters say too often such permits only come after the agencies get something they want from the applicant — in one instance, a commissioned wildlife study.

They also say permit rulings take too long, and complain that there’s no disclosure of the research serving as the basis for decisions to approve or reject permits.