PennFuture has fought against this bill, along with coalitions of sportsmen and women, anglers, hunters, and conservation and environmental groups, together representing well over 100,000 Pennsylvanians –- but it is going to be a heavy lift against the well-funded interests supporting it. If you haven’t yet, please take action and email or call your state representative today to find out where they stand, and urge a NO vote if the bill comes to a vote.
Looking out the window of PennFuture’s ninth-floor Wilkes-Barre office, we have a reminder right here of the importance of threatened and endangered species protection. In addition to views of the cityscape, flocks of pigeons, and a nearby wind farm, we have a peregrine falcon whose flights and loud caws are a regular sight to those in the know.
|Downtown Wilkes-Barre peregrine falcon; photo courtesy of David Weaver|
It’s been on the Pennsylvania endangered species list for good reason –- much like the bald eagle and others, it suffered catastrophic decline due to pesticides. After nearly 30 years with no nesting pairs, it’s now making a return with several dozen pairs in the state. We know that protecting species at the state level is the best way to prevent their decline and extinction. So why risk successful efforts such as these by politicizing and lengthening the process to list species, which this bill would do?
This bill is chiefly promoted by the fossil fuel industry, including the Marcellus Shale Coalition — and it undermines the ability of Pennsylvania's wildlife management agencies to protect threatened and endangered species and their habitats. It would also erode wildlife agencies' ability to designate wild trout streams -- impacting our environment and our state economy that depends on outdoors recreation.
As we noted in our message this week: Who do YOU trust to protect our natural world: scientists who make it their life's work, or extractive industries and the politicians doing their bidding? We need to tell Harrisburg and the fossil fuel industries that enough is enough.
Kate Gibbons is PennFuture's Northeastern Pennsylvania outreach coordinator and works in our Wilkes-Barre office.