If there is one thing business and industry seem unable to abide, it’s the
suggestion that anything might be just as important as the pursuit of profit.
This particularly applies to those sectors of business and industry that
demand unimpeded availability of large tracts of land, frequently natural
wildlife habitats. And Pennsylvania has lately become a case study in
environmental compromise with its self-defeating pandering to the natural gas
The notion that a rare species might interfere with frictionless profiteering
isn’t limited to natural gas drilling. It’s a significant factor for any
activity that requires large amounts of land.
Nonetheless, we find it interesting that the latest pro-business legislation
under consideration by the Pennsylvania General Assembly emerged in a
post-natural gas landscape. The Endangered Species Coordination Act (Senate Bill
1047 and House Bill 1576) would, according to its supporters, “balance” the
tension between habitat protection and economic development.
The key thing to know about this legislation is that it proposes to
standardize regulations for rare species by putting the state Fish and Boat
Commission and Game Commission under the thumb of the state’s Independent
Regulatory Review Commission. This is a unique five-member regulatory review
board — no other state has one — that essentially subjects proposed regulations
to scrutiny by political appointees. Its members are appointed by the governor,
the president pro tempore of the Senate, the House speaker, and the House and
Senate minority leaders. More....