WILLIAM W. WILSON: Change in law would hurt state wildlife
In the Sept. 9 Gazette, a front page article headlined “Bills would change endangered species laws” was a subject I had addressed in a letter to the paper a couple of months ago. I was hoping this proposal didn’t have the support to go anywhere. I was wrong.
State Rep. Pyle, R-Ford City, the lead sponsor of the bill, said he’s concerned that the public currently has “no possible way to contest” decisions by the Fish and Boat Commission and the Game Commission to list wildlife as endangered or threatened.
Pyle’s bill would take away the commissions’ exclusive authority to make those designations and give the Independent Regulatory Review Commission a role in listing or delisting species.
Doing this means many more species of wildlife would become threatened because of the loss of habitat.
The Fish and Game commissions have done an excellent job working for Pennsylvania’s wildlife for more than 100 years and are still doing it.
Pyle and his cohorts may have chosen the right time to get the bill passed. With the seemingly increasing lack of interest in the state’s outdoors, with the sale of hunting and fishing licenses declining in this state and with all the crying to these state legislators over the Game Commission’s deer management plan, these politicians will possibly get little resistance from the public.
Also, the gas and oil industry, one of the main supporters of this bill, will be able to tear through the state’s forests and streams with little to no resistance from this administration.
Wildlife and their habitat are constantly being threatened by development, illegal and accidental dumping of pollutants, poaching, disease and invasive species. All of this is either directly or indirectly the result of a single species: humans.
Maybe Pennsylvania has become too small to support endangered species and the habitat of many more. Or could it be we have too many politicians representing the state but working in the interests of big business and not the wildlife that are more and more dependent on all of us to try and provide the space they require to survive?
For those who are concerned about the state’s forests, streams and wildlife, now is not the time to remain quiet.
If the anti-hunting and animal rights activists are really serious about Pennsylvania wildlife, now would be the time to show it by backing the Fish and Game commissions.
William W. Wilson