By Mary Ann Thomas
The state's top environmental officials urged state representatives to not gut the state's endangered species law during a rare joint House committee hearing.
The proposed legislation could come up for vote in the next several months, according to the bill's prime sponsor, Rep. Jeff Pyle, R-Ford City.
The hearing took place on Tuesday at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania campus in the Northpointe at Slate Lick business park in South Buffalo.
The proposed Endangered Species Coordination Act would remove the authority of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and the state Game Commission to exclusively designate endangered species in the state.
The act would add another layer of government, the state Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC), to help decide whether a bird, fish, reptile or other wildlife should be listed as threatened or endangered specifically in Pennsylvania.
Pyle said this was the second and likely the last hearing for the bill before the state's House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee and the House Game and Fisheries Committee.
Smarting from losing the dredging industry to the presence of endangered mussels in the Allegheny River, among other causes, Pyle said he is fighting for the economic interests of his economically beleaguered Armstrong County and other parts of the state. More....