Frye: Outdoors groups fighting stubborn bills
TribLIVE Sports Videos
This has gone on longer than anyone expected.
Months ago, lawmakers in the state House of Representatives and Senate introduced companion bills that would change how the state identifies threatened and endangered species and designates wild trout streams. House Bill 1576 and Senate Bill 1047 would require the Independent Regulatory Review Commission and a legislative committee to review any designations proposed by the Pennsylvania Game and Fish and Boat Commissions.
Both, I was told in spring, would go away quickly. It hasn't happened.
Proponents of the bills say they would make decisions on species and trout streams “transparent” for the public's sake. They also would make it possible for industry to better know what it's up against when looking to operate.
Sen. Richard Alloway, chairman of the Senate game and fisheries committee, said in a recent op-ed piece that the bills “strike the right balance between species protection and economic considerations.”
Opponents say the bills are nothing more than an attempt to put conservation second to industrial interests.
“These disparate groups don't often agree, but they are unified in their opposition to these bills. Outdoorsmen and women from across the political spectrum are united in opposition to these bills,” reads an alert from the Hiking Association.
The Game and Fish and Boat Commissions oppose them, too. They say their processes of designating species and streams for protection already are public.
Fish and Boat commissioner Len Lichvar of Somerset County went further, opining in a recent letter that House Bill 1576 in particular represents “the worst single piece of legislation I have ever seen proposed.” The existing rules haven't cost a single job or deprived any business from pursuing its objectives, he said.
“However, if this legislation passes in its current form, our precious supply of clean water will dwindle, recreational activities and sportsmen opportunities will be reduced and the strong economic engines they support will be compromised,” Lichvar said.
Yet, House Bill 1576 recently passed out of committee and could be voted on by the full House at any time. Alloway said he plans to hold a hearing on the Senate version.
Sportsmen and conservationists are rallying the troops, though. If enough speak up, maybe these bills will finally die.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Allegheny County buck could prove to be state’s largest ever taken
- Pa. bear hunters off to good start
- Frye: Antlers sold, lost and found
- Outdoors notebook: New license plates, changes to youth trout program coming in 2015
- Outdoors notebook: Game Commission receives suggestions from field
- Frye: Trophies result from elk season
- Numbers indicate state could be in for record numbers in bear season
- Outdoors notices: Nov. 24, 2014