Business wants openness on species protection

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The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry thanks the Post-Gazette for previously conveying business’s position on the Endangered Species Coordination Act. However, a recent article, “Outdoor Groups Protest Bill on Endangered Species” (Jan. 9 unfairly singles out the natural gas industry.

Twenty-five statewide industry and business trade associations and chambers of commerce have publicly voiced support for the ESCA, not just the natural gas industry. The article also inaccurately states that this legislation would “make it easier to develop Marcellus Shale gas well sites and pipelines.” Every industry that moves earth, including the natural gas industry, would have to protect threatened and endangered species and their critical habitats; this legislation would simply allow for more responsible planning to ensure greater species protection.

The ESCA does not interfere with the Pennsylvania Game and Fish and Boat commissions’ authority to designate species as threatened and/​or endangered and to designate streams as wild trout streams; and it does not eliminate the use of sound science. The bill would simply create an open, transparent process for the evaluation, designation and protection of Pennsylvania’s threatened and endangered species and wild trout streams.

For PA Chamber members, the problem with the existing law has been the unnecessary length of time it takes both commissions to respond about the measures needed to protect species, and the lack of information regarding the nature of the species they protect. The ESCA would help to ensure that businesses receive the species data they need to proceed with projects in a timely and responsible manner.

Vice President
PA Chamber of Business and Industry

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