By Rebecca Hazen
House Bill 1576, also known as the Endangered Species Coordination Act, if passed, would standardize the process that the Fish and Boat and the Game Commissions use to designate species as threatened or endangered in the Commonwealth. It would also call for a change in the process of designating waters as wild trout streams.
This bill, supported by different building industries in the state, is also bringing up concerns by the two commissions who are worried that this could put already threatened and endangered species in more danger.
State Representative Jeff Pyle, who represents the 60th Legislative District, is the sponsor for the bill.
“I found a lot of inconsistencies in how the Fish and Boat and Game commissions were handling threatened species in the Commonwealth,” Pyle said.
“All of my life I have lived a couple of miles from the Allegheny River, and I am used to seeing barges moving up and down that river. When they closed the locks, I started digging into it,” Pyle said.
“Pool six had an 80 year supply of gravel and sand,” Pyle continued. “It was a good job to support your family, working the dredge boats. When they discovered endangered river mussels, it shut the whole thing down. A power plant was also shut down, which meant no more coal either. For the sake of some river mussels that no one has actually ever seen, giving up jobs is unbelievable. That is what got me going.”
Pyle noted that it seems “irregular” that the importance of some species seems to outweigh humans.
“I think that is a big over reach of government. Why are we putting anything in the way of people working,” Pyle said. More....