Senator Joe Scarnati (R-25) and Senator Richard Alloway (R-33) explained that the purpose of the informational hearing was to receive testimony on the Threatened and Endangered Species legislation that has been proposed.
Senate Bill 1047 was introduced by Senator Scarnati last year and would establish the Endangered Species Coordination Act.
The hearing, which took place at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, included testifiers from the Pennsylvania Game Commission, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, PA Chamber of Business and Industry and the PA Builders Association.
“Our federal government has effectively protected threatened species for over 100 years,” Senator Scarnati stated. “However, currently in Pennsylvania our state agencies do not coordinate their efforts with federal rules and regulations. Senate Bill 1047 takes an important step to create a greater level of accountability and transparency regarding the classification of endangered species in our Commonwealth.”
SB 1047 would also require the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission to submit proposed designations to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC). IRRC already reviews regulations from every other state agency, including endangered species designations made by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and most stream designations made by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
Scarnati noted that in addition, DCNR will be required to maintain a centralized database containing a list of all designated species and critical habitats within the Commonwealth.
“Testifiers at the Senate Game & Fisheries Committee hearing did a thorough job of explaining to the Committee how the Endangered Species bill would impact their agencies and businesses,” Senator Alloway stated. “Information presented will be closely reviewed and analyzed before a Committee vote is scheduled.”
Senator Alloway noted that last November the House Game and Fisheries Committee voted to pass House Bill 1576, the companion bill to Senate Bill 1047.
“Taxpayers expect that state government operates in an efficient manner,” Senator Scarnati stated. “Our goal is that Pennsylvania maintains a universal standard of protection for our fish, wildlife and plants, without unduly harming our businesses and employers who provide family sustaining jobs in the Commonwealth.”