The assertion by Sam Densico, vice president of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, (Jan. 18 letter, “Business Wants Openness On Species Protection”) that the proposed Endangered Species Coordination Act “does not interfere with the Pennsylvania Game and Fish and Boat commissions’ authority to designate species as threatened and/or endangered” is simply not true.
Whereas currently these decisions are made by appointed commissioners relying primarily upon the findings of their staff scientists, under the proposed legislation, before such designations could be finalized, they would have to pass muster with panels of politicians in both the Pennsylvania House and Senate. And at least some of these politicians, I am certain, will have had their campaign coffers generously filled by the frackers, dredgers, developers and others who would prefer to have to deal with as few pesky endangered species as possible.
Furthermore, two years after passage of ESCA , every species in Pennsylvania listed as either threatened or endangered, except for those also listed as such by the federal government, would be delisted and forced, one by one, to go through this politicized process in order to try and regain their present designations.
In the interim, businesses, such as, for example, the shale gas drilling industry, will have to concern themselves only with federally protected species, which will make their jobs much simpler.
The Endangered Species Coordination Act is designed to make it easier for industry to plunder Pennsylvania’s natural beauty and destroy its biodiversity for the sake of short-term profit. It must be opposed by all who cherish our state’s rich natural endowments.