A controversial plan to loop legislative committees into the process of designating endangered species in Pennsylvania is set to get a hearing.

 

Twin proposals in the House and Senate would make Pennsylvania's Fish and Boat Commission and Game Commission send endangered species proposals through another agency -- as well as panels made up of lawmakers -- for review.

Their underlying premise: Since endangered species often affect permits for industries such as timber, gas, home construction, and coal, there should be more oversight of what creatures are being designated.

The sponsor of the House plan said he's butting heads with agencies tasked with listing endangered species.
"Their mission is to protect the game species of Pennsylvania... part of my mission is to make sure my people don't see widespread unemployment," said Rep. Jeff Pyle, R-Armstrong.

Pyle favors an appeal process.

"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," he said. "I mean, lumbermen, coal guys, builders, gas guys."

Directors of the Fish & Boat Commission and the Game Commission, which are in charge of the process now, say Pyle's proposal would strip their authority.

Under the plan, they said, the burden for determining an endangered species' presence would shift from industry to their panels when approving permits.