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Friday, September 12, 2014

Obituary
Steven Kriz

Steven E. Kriz, 60 of Homestead Ave., Bradford, formerly of Limestone, passed away ,Friday, September 12, 2014, in the Bradford Regional Medical Center.

Funeral arrangements are incomplete and will be announced by the Hollenbeck-Cahill Funeral Homes Inc. Online condolences may be made at www.hollenbeckcahill.com

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

Lorrie Morgan Brings 'Enchanted Christmas' to
Seneca Allegany Events Center

SALAMANCA, NY – Seneca Resorts & Casinos will get in the holiday spirit with five days of holiday concerts. And with tickets starting at just $10, the performances will not only be festive but also very affordable. Lorrie Morgan will take the stage at Seneca Allegany Events Center in Salamanca, N.Y. from December 3 through 7.

Celebrating her 30th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry this year, country sensation Lorrie Morgan will share the spirit of the holiday season with “Lorrie Morgan: An Enchanted Christmas.” One show will take place each day at Seneca Allegany Events Center – with 2 p.m. matinee shows on December 3, 4 and 7, and 8 p.m. evening shows on December 5 and 6. Tickets start at $10 and are on sale now. In addition to holiday favorites, Morgan will perform many of her hits from the past 25 years, such as “Five Minutes,” “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength,” “Watch Me” and “What Part of No.” A singer, songwriter, worldwide entertainer on the performing and theatrical stage, a producer, duet partner, wife, mother and now, a grandmother, Morgan has sold more than six million records, achieved 14 Top 10 hits and won four Female Vocalist of the Year awards in the 1990s. Her duet partners have included music icons such as Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mathis, Andy Williams and The Beach Boys. When inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 1984, Morgan at the time was the youngest sister ever to achieve the honor at age 24.

Singer, actress and entertainer Deana Martin, the daughter of legendary crooner Dean Martin, will provide a jazz-and-standards twist on holiday favorites from December 10 through 14 at Seneca Niagara Events Center with “Deana Martin Christmas Show.” She will perform seven times throughout the five-day stretch, with 2 p.m. matinee shows on December 10, 11, 13 and 14, and 8 p.m. evening shows on December 11, 12 and 13. Tickets for all shows start at $15 and go on sale Thursday, Sept. 18 at noon. Martin debuted on her father’s television series, The Dean Martin Show, as a teenager in 1966 and later trained professionally in England, appearing in productions such as Romeo & Juliet, The Taming of the Shrew and Hamlet. Back in the U.S., she continued on a successful theater career before venturing into both music and television. Martin also is a New York Times bestselling author with the book Memories Are Made of This: Dean Martin through His Daughter’s Eyes. In 2011, she released a holiday album called “White Christmas,” and was joined by Andy Williams on the title track.

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

Bradford Man Charged for Domestic Violence

A Bradford man is accused of assaulting a woman this morning and choking her until she lost consciousness.

50-year-old James Dunshie is charged with simple assault and harassment in connection to the incident at around 7:30 this morning on Orchard Place.

Police say when they arrived on the scene they saw multiple contusions on the victim’s face and arms, including a large one around her left eye. She was taken by ambulance to BRMC.

Dunshie was sent to McKean County Jail on $10,000 bail.

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

Two Charged Following Domestic Incidents

Domestic violence has led to charges against two Cattaraugus County men.

State police say on September 2 25-year-old Terry Brown of Olean hit a woman in the face in the Town of Yorkshire. He was charged with assault and sent to jail on $1,500 cash bail.

On August 31 22-year-old Kenneth Shafer of Yorkshire was involved in a domestic dispute in the Town of Yorkshire, and was charged with criminal obstruction of breathing, criminal mischief and harassment. A temporary order of protection was ordered.

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

Police: Man Abused Crying Toddler

A man is accused of forcing a toddler’s face into a bed because he was crying.

State police arrested Nicholas Sikes of Allegany for being abusive to the two-year-old, and charged him with criminal obstruction of breathing and endangering the welfare of a child.

Sikes was sent to Cattaraugus County Jail on $1,000 bail.

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

Douglas Pleads Guilty to Fatal Crash

A Kane woman has admitted to being at fault in a crash that killed six people – including her daughter and nephew – last August.

38-year-old Kathleen Douglas was driving a car that crashed on Route 219 and Meade Run Road. Killed in the crash were 12-year-old Olivia Douglas, 6-year-old Jarett Costanzo and four St. Marys residents, 62-year-old Gary Beimel, 55-year-old Elaine Beimel, 54-year-old David Cuneo and 81-year-old Florence Donachy.

Douglas is scheduled for sentencing Tuesday morning in McKean County Court. If Judge William Morgan accepts a plea deal, she would serve 11 years and three months to 22 ½ years in state prison on charges of homicide by vehicle and recklessly endangering another person.

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Propane Truck Crashes in Potter County

A propane truck rolled over in Potter County late this morning, closing Route 49 from the Gold intersection to Ulysses.

The road is expected to be closed for a couple more hours.

The driver was reportedly trapped inside the truck, and the crash did cause a propane leak.

We’ll have more information as it becomes available.

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

Local People Remember 9-11-01

People have been sharing on our Facebook page about what they were doing on this day 13 years ago.

Ellen Bunnell of Bradford had relatives both in New York City and near Shanksville. One of her sons was on an ambulance crew in New York. Another son’s fiancĂ© was a nurse in Johnstown, and was placed on a medical crew to head for Shanksville.

If you would like to share your stories and memories you can go to facebook.com/1490wesb.

On this day St. Bonaventure University remembers its three alumni who were killed that day. Among those was Father Mychael Judge, the first official emergency responder fatality. Then-New York City Mayor Rudy Gulliani said of him, "He embodied the ideal blend of spirituality and public service."

A memorial service was held on campus at noon. In Bradford, city firefighters placed a memorial outside the Central fire station on Chestnut Street.

In Shanksville, ceremonies were held at the Flight 93 National Memorial.

Pictured, top, St. Bonaventure University alumni Amy O'Doherty, Rob Peraza, and Father Mychael Judge; left, two bells are rung as each of the 40 Flight 93 victims names are read out, during the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County, on the 13th anniversary of 9/11.

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

Olean Mayor Nominates Chief Candidate

Olean may have a new police chief, two months after the former chief retired.

Mayor Bill Aiello has nominated Captain Jeff Rowley to replace Terry Schnell who stepped down on July 12. Common Council will vote on the nomination during its September 23 meeting.

Rowley, who is a 24-year veteran of the department, would take over day-to-day operations if council votes him in, but he would still have to take, and pass, the Civil Service promotional exam.

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

Injured PSP Trooper to be Honored

UPDATE: Due to the death of Cpl. Bryon Dickson II during an ambush-style attack at the Blooming Grove station on Friday, the Purple Heart Ceremony for Trooper Bradley Wilson has been postponed.

The state trooper who was shot and critically injured while serving a search warrant on a suspected meth lab near Brockway last year will be awarded a Pennsylvania State Police Purple Heart Award.

Trooper Bradley Wilson will receive the award Wednesday in Punxsutawney.

The incident happened on September 26 when the father of the suspect shot Wilson in the chest and neck. Trooper Bruce Morris says the gunshots resulted in significant paralysis, and Wilson’s recovery has been long and difficult, and is ongoing.

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

Man Who Hid From Police Waives Hearing

The man who tried to hide from police in a small wooded area off Seaward Avenue because he didn’t like the state parole program he was in has waived his preliminary hearing.

Earlier this month on Seaward Avenue near 6V Sales and Service 55-year-old John Crocker got into a fight with his daughter after she told him she was going to take him back to Erie so he could turn himself in. He got out of the car and hid from police for about half an hour, until Bradford Township Police Officer Jeff Shade found him and took him into custody. City and Foster Township Police were also searching.

Crocker told police later that he would rather be in jail than in the parole program. He is on parole after serving time for drug charges.

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

Phone Scam Hits City

City police have received several calls reporting a phone scam.

The caller identifies himself as being employed by a local utility company, and tells the people their last check bounced and they have 15 to 20 minutes to pay a certain amount of money, or the utility will be shut off.

Police say this is a scam, and are encouraging people to just hang up and to not send any money.

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

Man Escapes Injury in Tractor Trailer Crash

A tractor trailer crashed and turned over Tuesday morning on Route 6 but the driver from Kane was not hurt.

Police say the tractor trailer was on a curve in Glade Township, Warren County, at just after 6 a.m. when it went off the berm and hit a guard rail. 36-year-old Scott Meeks over-corrected to get the rig back onto the road, but that’s when the truck and trailer turned over their sides.

Meeks was issued a traffic citation.

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Police: Man Lied About Stolen Gun

A Bradford man is facing charges for saying his handgun had been stolen when, in fact, he sold it to a known drug dealer.

Vincent Santiago reported the gun stolen in January of last year. In February a state parole agent conducting a routine check of Demario Watts found the gun under a mattress in Watts’ apartment.

Subsequent to the investigation Sgt. Jason Daugherty says he learned that the gun was not stolen, and that Santiago sold the gun to Watts for $285, according to court papers.

Santiago is in McKean County Jail on $10,000 bail. Watts was sentenced a year ago to 4 to 6 years at SCI-Somerset on a drug charge and for being a convicted felon with a gun. He was originally charged with receiving stolen property, but that was dismissed.

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

More Improvements to Downtown Bradford;
More on the Way Throughout the City

The improvements to Downtown Bradford keep on coming, and plans are in the works to step up the fight against blight in residential areas as well.

City Council on Tuesday authorized loans to Rookies to building a deck and pave two parking lots; Shelley Wright to fix the roof on 80-82 Main Street (Wright’s Music Shed); and The Aud to buy the Boylston Street building the restaurant currently occupies.

Even City Hall is getting a face lift. Council approved a payment to Shembeda Floor Covering to install carpeting on the front steps of the building and Room 103. They also awarded a bid to Hennard Construction for renovations to the third floor, including city council chambers.

While the focus in recent months has been the revitalization and restoration Fifth Ward resident Pat Girard told council she believes the city is ignoring neighborhoods.

She said she thinks code enforcement should be working to make sure the outsides of properties are maintained better, and that landlords are living up to their responsibilities as far as upkeep of buildings and properties.

One of her concerns was West Washington Street and West Corydon, both on the route to the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. Girard is afraid people visiting the campus will get a bad impression of the city because of the conditions of some of the buildings.

Mayor Tom Riel said council has recognized the problem and is working to fix it. In fact, during the meeting council authorized on first reading the creation of two property management officers – at $35,000 each – who would aggressively pursue code enforcement ordinances that are “on the verge” of being re-written.

Riel added that the city is continuing to work on the problem, a majority of which rests with “slumlords.” He said, without mentioning the name, that one landlord who had more than 100 properties now has two or three.

“We’re dealing with it,” Riel said. “Quite frankly, we’ve put one of them, pretty much out of business. So, hopefully, we’ll continue (fixing the problem.)”

Riel noted that he has received comments on how much better the city looks these days.

One part of the city that’s looking better is Veterans Square, but more improvements are on the way.

Among the changes will be new benches and trash receptacles. Chamber of Commerce Director Ron Orris told city council that while the gazebo was being painted earlier this year he noticed that the benches and trash receptacles could use some work as well.

He explained to council that there will be no cost to the city for the project, and it will be paid for through donations in honor of or in memory of veterans or veterans groups.

Main Street Manager Anita Dolan says they’ve already sold two benches.

She says she and Orris had a meeting with the VFW and American Legion a couple of weeks ago, and that they are very happy with the way the square looks right now, and this will be the next step in the renovation. Each of the veterans groups, without any hesitation, said they would buy a bench.

The benches should be delivered in the spring, when Orris and Dolan are also hoping to implement other improvements in the square such as refurbishing of the flower beds.

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

New Streaming Video Gives
511PA Users Better Traffic Information

Harrisburg – PennDOT announced today that streaming video from its more than 700 traffic cameras is now available on 511PA.

PennDOT recently upgraded its 511PA website and mobile application to allow for the continuously streaming footage. Previously, the site and mobile application were limited to providing real-time conditions using still images that were refreshed every five seconds.

“Our 511 system puts travel information at drivers’ fingertips and helps them make travel decisions before and during their trip,” PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch said. “The new streaming video shows real-time traffic flow to help give motorists an even better idea of what to expect on our roadways.”

The streaming video is the latest improvement to the 511PA service. In May, PennDOT announced a 511PA smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices that provides hands-free and eyes-free travel alerts for the nearly 40,000 miles of road that PennDOT maintains as well as the Pennsylvania Turnpike and select New Jersey and West Virginia roadways. Application users can also view the streaming video, travel alerts and more before they travel.

Motorists can check conditions on major roadways by visiting www.511PA.com. 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts and traffic speed information. 511PA is also available by calling 5-1-1, and by signing up for personal alerts or following regional Twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website.

PennDOT reminds drivers to “know before you go” and not call or look at any of 511PA’s services while driving.

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

City of Bradford Police Log for 9/09/14

City Police are investigating an assault that happened Tuesday afternoon on Main Street. Also Tuesday, officers investigated a theft on West Washington Street, a motor vehicle accident on Interstate Parkway and harassment at two schools and on Boylston Street. Police were called to domestic incidents on Elm and Main streets as well as a disturbance on High Street. They also got a report of suspicious activity on Hillside Avenue.

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

City Resurfacing Project Starts Thursday

Bradford’s resurfacing project will start at 7 o’clock tomorrow morning, weather permitting.

The affected streets will be Pearl, Bennett, Center, Davis and Chestnut. Residents in these areas are asked to comply with door knockers that will be placed at their homes today, and to refrain from parking in these areas until the resurfacing is finished.

Flaggers will be in place to direct traffic. Expect delays.

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Homicide by Vehicle Charges Bound to Court

Charges against the man involved in a fatal Memorial Day weekend crash near Port Allegany have been bound to McKean County Court.

31-year-old Jerver Fernandez of Luzerne County appeared for a preliminary hearing in front of District Judge Bill Todd today. Fernandez is charged with homicide by vehicle and homicide by vehicle while DUI in connection to the May 24 crash on Route 6 that killed 27-year-old Robert Bowes.

Fernandez is free on $25,000 unsecured bail.

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

Man Blames Crime on Gambling Addiction

A gambling addiction caused a man to steal nearly $4,000 from Advance Auto Parts in Bradford.

According to court papers 43-year-old Michael Griffin of Limestone told police he was in financial trouble and has a gambling addiction, which led to the thefts.

The store’s loss prevention specialists did an investigation of the thefts, which happened between February 11 and July 29, and took a statement from Griffin saying he stole as much as $7,000. Loss Prevention was able to give police documentation showing that Griffin stole $3,727.

Griffin is charged with felony counts of theft by unlawful taking, theft by deception and receiving stolen property. He’s free on unsecured bail.

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

Youngsville Schools on Alert for Short Time

Youngsville schools were on alert, but not on lockdown, after sounds resembling gunshots were reported this morning in the area of the elementary/middle school.

The school district and police later learned that a training/qualifying event was being held at the Brokenstraw Fish and Game Club, and the noises most likely came from there.

All schools were operating normally by the end of the day, and after school activities will continue as usual.

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

Attempted Burglaries in Mount Jewett

State police are investigating several attempted burglaries in Mount Jewett.

The latest happened at 10:30 this morning at 62 East Main Street in the borough at the home of Leann McAndrew.

Troopers are reminding residents to be on the lookout for any suspicious activity, and to report it if they see it. Anyone with information regarding the attempted burglaries is asked to contact Kane-based state police.

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

Bills, Pegula Release Statement on Sale of Team

The process for the sale of the Buffalo Bills has taken a significant step forward today as a definitive agreement has been reached between the trust of the late Pro Football Hall of Famer Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. and the Pegula family, owners of the Buffalo Sabres and lead developers of Buffalo’s HarborCenter.

Subject to the approval of the NFL owners and the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, the definitive agreement calls for the Pegula family to acquire all of the interest in the Buffalo Bills franchise from the Wilson trust. The parties intend to submit the agreement for approval by the NFL owners at their meeting in New York City on October 8.

Buffalo Bills Controlling Owner Mary Wilson said, “This is a very important day in the history of the Buffalo Bills franchise. Ralph brought professional football to Buffalo in 1959 and it was his life’s passion. He loved his team and he cherished the fans and his legacy will remain for all-time. Ralph would have been pleased with the sale of the team to the Terry Pegula family, who has been so committed to Buffalo and the Western New York region.”

“I sincerely wish Terry and Kim Pegula all the best with the Buffalo Bills and I’m happy for all Bills fans. Our hope is that this great franchise brings them as much excitement and joy as it did for Ralph and that they bring home a Super Bowl championship for Bills fans everywhere. Go Bills!”

Statement by Terry Pegula

“Kim and I are humbled and honored that the Wilson family has chosen us to be the second owner of the Buffalo Bills. Pending the NFL approval process, being the next owner of the Buffalo Bills would be a great privilege for our family. Ralph Wilson left an indelible mark on our community and we will strive every day to honor his legacy.

Our interest in owning the Bills has everything to do with the people of Western New York and our passion for football. We have knowledgeable, dedicated fans here and along with our ownership of the Buffalo Sabres, it is gratifying to reassure these great fans that two franchises so important to our region are both here to stay.

We are grateful to Senator Chuck Schumer and Governor Andrew Cuomo for their support and desire to keep our Bills in Western New York where they belong and to our team of professional advisors at Allen & Company and Sherrard, German & Kelly. We would also like to thank the staffs of the NFL and the Bills for helping to guide us through the sale process. We now look ahead to the NFL review process in accordance with League policy. If awarded final approval, we will be driven to achieve a singular goal: To win a Super Bowl for our fans.

Out of respect for the continuing sale process, until League approval is attained, we will have no further comment.”

You can listen to the Bills Squish the Fish (we hope) Sunday on 100.1 The Hero. The pre-game show starts at 11 a.m. Kickoff is at 1 p.m.

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

Energy, Transportation, Water Projects Get Money

HARRISBURG – The Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) has approved a total of $2,594,832 for eight energy, transportation and water and sewer projects in the 25th Senatorial District, announced Senator Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson).

The projects approved for funding are a part of three different programs that are administered by the CFA, including the Alternative and Clean Energy Program, Multimodal Transportation Fund Program and PA Small Water & Sewer Program.

“I am pleased that eight projects in our region have received state funding for important public improvements to better serve area residents and businesses,” Scarnati said. “These investments will provide needed growth and updates while also helping to generate local economic development.”

Scarnati explained that in the 25th Senatorial District the following projects were approved across five different counties:

Cameron County
Mid Cameron Authority - $40,000 grant (PA Small Water & Sewer Program)
The project will involve making repairs to an aerial sewer crossing that transfers sanitary sewage waste from one side of West Creek to the other by correcting the erosion at the existing abutments on each side of the creek and adding the additional steel support to the existing steel hangers. The total project cost is $53,000.

Clearfield County
CNG Motor Fuels of Clearfield County - $681,680 grant (Alternative and Clean Energy Program)
CNG Motor Fuels of Clearfield County will install a public CNG fueling station at the existing Pacific Pride petroleum-based fuel site located in DuBois City. The station is located near major travel corridors, including I-80, US 119, US 322, US 219 and PA 255. CNG Motor Fuels of Clearfield County will provide $1,022,520 in matching funds.

City of DuBois - $596,695 grant (Multimodal Transportation Fund Program)
The City of DuBois is extending the Beaver Meadow Walkway and linking Memorial Park to the downtown business district to encourage recreation and promote commerce to the local community. An additional trail loop and streetscape project will provide access to no less than six empty store fronts along the proposed pathway. Funds will be used to make safe passage from the Memorial Park and Beaver Meadow Walkway through the Downtown Business District by replacing old, broken and missing sidewalk; adding efficient street lighting and installing informational and direction signage. The total project cost is $852,421.

Clinton County
Clean Energy - $400,257 grant (Alternative and Clean Energy Program)
Clean Energy plans to install a new CNG station at the existing Clean Energy LNG station, to provide CNG and LNG capabilities at the site. Clean Energy will provide $600,385 in matching funds.

Jefferson County
Big Run Area Municipal Authority - $125,000 grant (PA Small Water & Sewer Program)
The project will include the purchase and installation of an additional sludge storage tank to reduce the plant’s organic loading back to normal levels. Portions of the treatment facility are also exhibiting severe corrosion; therefore the project will also include sandblasting and painting rusted tank walls and replacing the cathodic anodes for corrosion protection. The total project cost is $150,000.

CNG Motor Fuels of Jefferson County - $287,600 grant (Alternative and Clean Energy Program)
CNG Motor Fuels of Jefferson County will expand an existing public CNG fueling station to meet the increasing demand by truck fleets and the public for CNG. The station is located less than 1/4 mile from exit 78 of I-80, and also has easy access to PA 36, US 322 and PA 28. CNG Motor Fuels of Jefferson County will provide $431,400 in matching funds.

CNG Motor Fuels of Jefferson County - $353,600 grant (Alternative and Clean Energy Program)
CNG Motor Fuels of Jefferson County will expand an existing public CNG fueling station to meet the increasing demand by truck fleets and the public for CNG. The station is located at the Punxsutawney Industrial Park along Route 436 and is less than a mile away from Route US 119 and PA 36. CNG Motor Fuels of Jefferson County will provide $530,400 in matching funds.

Potter County
Coudersport Borough Authority - $110,000 grant (PA Small Water & Sewer Program)
The project will remove a 100 year old water main and replace it with 700 LF of 8” water line along with the installation of three new fire hydrants. The total project cost is $147,000.

According to Scarnati the grants were approved at the September 9th CFA meeting in Harrisburg.

“I commend our local cities, businesses and municipal authorities for seeking out support and receiving this substantial funding,” Scarnati said. “I am confident that these projects will provide significant benefits to the community for decades to come.”

The news leader of the Twin Tiers ... since 1947

Hearing Held on Northern Long Eared Bat

Harrisburg -- The House Natural Resources Committee held a field oversight hearing on “The Northern Long Eared Bat: The Federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Impacts of a Listing on Pennsylvania and 37 Other States.” This hearing examined questions regarding bat data and non-human-caused disease, as well as the likely negative impacts that a federal endangered listing of the Northern Long Eared Bat under the ESA would have on important activities such as farming, mining, timbering, and agricultural activities.

In 2011, settlement agreements between two environmental groups and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) resulted in a deal that requires the Obama Administration to decide by 2016 whether to list 757 species as threatened or endangered and to list critical habitats for these species under the ESA. The proposed endangered listing of the Northern Long Eared Bat is part of the 2011 settlement. A final decision for the Northern Long Eared Bat listing could be made within the next several months.

“The likely primary cause for any documented decline of the bats is not caused by any human-related activity, but rather from a disease transmitted mostly from bats to other bats called ‘White Nose Syndrome.’ It seems to me that efforts should focus on that issue, rather than creating a federal endangered species solution in search of a problem,” said Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04). “Federal edicts that ignore state efforts and data and impose one-size-fits-all solutions is not the most cooperative way to achieve this objective.”

“The ESA is far from perfect and has generated many unintended and harmful consequences. In fact, we are at a point now where the law desperately needs to be improved and modernized,” said Congressman Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (PA-O5), a member of the House Natural Resources Committee. “No one can deny the challenge facing the Northern Long-Eared Bat due to White Nose Syndrome and there is consensus that we must learn more about the disease and improve partnerships at all levels to slow its spread. However, it is imperative that we get the science right and strategically address the root cause of the apparent population losses, rather than restrict large areas of the economy and activities that have no bearing on slowing or reversing the disease.”

“The proposed listing affects Pennsylvania as well as 37 other states. It will directly impact thousands of acres in Pennsylvania and business activities on them. It is my concern that Federal listings of this scope and magnitude should not be driven by arbitrary court-settlement deadlines or be based on unpublished or sketchy data or personal opinions by federal bureaucrats. It is vitally important that these decisions are carefully and openly scrutinized and scientific data is used,” said Congressman Scott Perry (PA-04). “I hope we can take a closer look at the Endangered Species Act and ensure that all proposed decisions to list a species be met with scientific data and not a knee-jerk reaction. The proposed listing could mean significant changes to Pennsylvania’s economic and energy industry and jobs, while doing little if anything to help the declining population of long-eared bats.”

This hearing is the latest in the Committee’s efforts to update and improve the ESA. In July, as a result of input from numerous stakeholders and witnesses who testified before the Committee on the effects of the ESA, the House of Representatives approved legislation that would improve and modernize the 40 year old law. The primary focus of these four bills is to promote data and cost transparency, species recovery, and litigation reform in the ESA.

Witnesses at today’s hearing highlighted the real economic impacts that the potential listing of the Northern Long-Eared Bat as endangered under the ESA would have on Pennsylvania citizens without any measurable benefits for the bat and offered real solutions on how the law can be improved so it is working in the best interests of species and people.

“To think that an unelected body can dictate to us when we can and cannot cut our standing timber on our own land according to a bat’s mating schedule is simply preposterous. It wouldn’t be so hard if there was some kind of recourse to protest the ruling made so far away by people who have never been here who really don’t give a hoot whether the citizens of Armstrong County have jobs is comprehensively unacceptable. The ESA encourages us, who have such a dynamic grasp of patriotism, to become lawbreakers in the Nation we’ve gone to fight for. It has to stop.” – State Representative Jeffrey Pyle, Pennsylvania 60th Legislative District

“As a farmer, I believe that using both common sense and science is a logical way to approach not just farming, but regulations. It seems to me that this proposal to list the Northern Long-Eared Bat is flawed from both a scientific and common sense perspective. If the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recognizes that human activities have not had an appreciable effect on the species to date, why would we focus on human-induced impacts to try to slow population decline? It just doesn’t make sense… We’re more than willing to work with states and the federal government to do our part to ensure the longevity of the Northern Long-Eared Bat. But let’s make sure we’re solving the problem, not making new ones, because we’re not targeting the root cause.” – Jeff Brubaker, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau

“The habitat protection provisions associated with an endangered listing of the NLEB will have dramatic negative consequences for Pennsylvania’s forestry industry, its forest landowners, the state’s economy and the forest habitat itself – all while providing no benefit to addressing the impact of WNS that threatens the NLEB. The USFWS needs to forego any mandated restrictions on forest management practices. The USFWS needs to work with other federal agencies, state wildlife and forestry agencies and other stakeholder to fill the gaps in the existing data and understanding of NLEB and WNS. Finally, the USFWS and others need to remain focused on the research and efforts on the control and elimination of the WNS that is the actual threat to NLEB and other bat species.” – Paul Lyskava, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Forest Products Association

“Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association (PIOGA) and our member companies believe that the proposed listing is unsupported by the facts and law and is not justified by the best available scientific and commercial data. We also believe that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must utilize its six month extension to subject the data to rigorous and transparent review to those in the scientific community, which will confirm the lack to scientific and legal justification for listing the Northern Long-Eared Bat…PIOGA suggests that if any final rule resulting in the listing of the species is adopted, it may not lawfully restrict activities, such as oil and gas development, that have no casual connection to White Nose Syndrome or otherwise threaten of endanger the Northern Long-Eared Bat.” – Lou D’Amico, President & Executibg Director of the Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association

“A listing would therefore, severely restrict any permitted earth moving activity proposed within a broad geographic area, particularly among the mineral extraction industry. The result would be permit delays and increased business costs without any assurance of commensurate environmental benefits. The Northern Long-Eared Bat has been hard-hit by White-Nose Syndrome, especially in the United States. Indeed, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife repeatedly recognizes that the White-Nose Syndrome, not any human activity, alone is responsible for the major impacts to the Northern Long-Eared Bat that have been reported. Any species protection requirements that would accompany a federal listing will not address the White Nose Syndrome impact on Northern Long-Eared Bats. It would be senseless to impose significant costs on a multitude of industries whose activities would not affect the bat’s population with restrictions that would not in any measurable manner preserve the species.” – John Stilley, President, Amerikohl Mining, Inc.

“While U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service may not take economics into consideration when making decisions, it should recognize the fact it takes dollars generated from tax paying businesses to have a clean stable environment both socially and ecologically. The forest products industry is one of the largest industries in the state of Pennsylvania generating over 14 billion dollars to our state economy. As a logger, and part of the forest products industry here in Pennsylvania, I am committed to continuing forestry practices that enhance NLEB habitat. Any premature listing of an endangered species, or listing without taking into account economic considerations to the State, could have a negative impact to Pennsylvania’s Forest Products Industry, including timberland owners and loggers as well as a significant impact to our State’s economy.” – Martin Melville, Owner, Melville Forest Services

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