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August 02, 2014
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editorial

Threatening endangered species


To us, this is the heart of the matter—legislators seeking to move the process to be more favorable to business interests at the expense of an environmental process that has worked for many years and achieved positive results.

As for the commonly expressed concern that protecting species is anti-business or anti-development, PF&BC Executive Director John Arway, calling the House bill “critically flawed, even with its proposed amendments,” testified that his agency is “not the obstacle to development that some have claimed…We take our responsibility of advising business, individuals and other agencies seriously, and we know that the best way to do our jobs is by being as cooperative and timely as possible. Indeed, our commitment to work with industry is not new… We are committed to this collaborative approach and believe that it is preferable to dismantling 40 years of science-based decision making, which HB 1576 would do.”

Likewise PGC’s Roe testified that at his agency, “We have assisted many companies in their preplanning goals that have in fact saved them considerable costs... As an agency we feel we are a facilitator in this process and we work to insure both the industry and the species concerned are protected.”

At the same time as PA’s T&E species face tougher scrutiny for gaining protection, in Washington, DC the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) is also under attack. The Senate bill (SB 1731), introduced by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV),would require that any species currently listed nationally is to be removed from the list after a five-year period regardless of its status, and only after a joint resolution of Congress would their protections be renewed for another five years. Members of the U.S. House have introduced their own proposal.

We believe that the attempts to weaken and/or dismantle protections for T&E species would wrongly tilt the advantage to private, corporate economic interests that seek short-term financial gain at the expense of the long-term health and sustainability of our forests, rivers and streams, and diverse ecosystems.