Endangered Species

Nati Harnik / AP Photo

Of the roughly 2,000 native plant species in Pennsylvania, 347 are currently considered rare, threatened or endangered. After two decades of research, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources wants to change the statuses of 51 plants.

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

A Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium leopard gave birth to a new Amur cub last week, zoo officials announced Tuesday.

A proposal to add regulatory oversight to the commissions designating endangered species and protected wild trout streams in Pennsylvania has passed out of a key state House committee.

It would give a regulatory review board of political appointees final approval over decisions to allow the state to protect certain species and streams.

Supporters, including natural gas companies and home builders, say it would provide a check and balance to the state’s independent commissions now in charge of the process.

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.

The process of listing endangered species in Pennsylvania is about to get a hearing.
Companion bills in the state House and Senate are aimed at making the two independent commissions in charge of the designations run their regulations past another commission, as well as legislative committees.

Republican Rep. Jeff Pyle of Armstrong County, who’s sponsoring the House measure, says labeling animals “endangered” affects industry permits, so an appeal process should be in place.

Two state agencies are warning proposed legislation would strip their authority to determine which species are labeled endangered in Pennsylvania.

The measure would require the Fish and Boat Commission and the Game Commission, now independent agencies, to instead run their decisions through certain legislative committees and a state regulatory review agency.