The proposed "Endangered Species Bills" will have a dramatic--and detrimental--impact on how Pennsylvania's wild trout waters are designated. Photo © Neil Ever Osborne/iLCP
Proposed Endangered Species Bills Would Have Threatened Native Brook Trout
On Thursday, November 14, 2013, the House Game and Fisheries Committee voted House Bill 1576, as amended, out of Committee. The bill moved to the full House of Representatives for consideration. HB1576 and the Senate version, SB1047, collectively known as the "Endangered Species Bills," had the potential to dramatically alter state protections for rare, endangered, and threatened species and Pennsylvania's natural places. Of particular concern was the potential impact to our state fish and icon of clean water—the native brook trout.
- This legislation would have fundamentally and detrimentally altered the way the wild brook trout streams would be designated in the Commonwealth.
- Scientists at the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission use well-established and thorough sampling methods to designate wild brook trout streams. This sound science would be diluted by interjecting the Independent Regulatory Review Commission and standing committees for both the House and Senate into the process.
- None of the proposed committees would have the scientific expertise or standards needed to evaluate the need for stream designation changes.
- This unnecessary layering of further oversight would fail to ensure that scientific data is accurately assessed, without undue influence, and may in fact lead to merely increasing workloads on agency staff and slowing down the review process.
WHAT CBF DID:
CBF opposed the bills and sent out the following comments:
- Our official comment letter to the chairmen of the state House of Representatives Game and Fisheries Committee and Environmental Resources and Energy Committee. Read the letter.
- Our official comment letter to all members of the state House of Representatives. Read the letter.
To find out more about Pennsylvania's native brook trout and restoration and protection efforts, visit www.easternbrooktrout.org.
If you would like to stay informed about these bills and others that impact Pennsylvania's waters, please join CBF's Action Network.