On May 30, 2019, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale issued a scathing report on the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) following a three-year review of their finances. The Auditor General noted that the PGC has amassed more than $72 million in reserve funds despite reducing staffing and creating additional fees with the argument that they were losing money. Furthermore, the Auditor General noted that the PGC was not fully aware of escrow accounts in its possession and not effectively overseeing revenue brought in from its multi-million dollar natural gas leases.
The Auditor General issued 43 recommendations to the PGC, the most for any state agency/commission during his tenure in office. With this in mind, it has become abundantly clear that the PGC needs additional oversight to ensure that it is meeting its mission for Pennsylvania’s sportsmen and the Commonwealth at large.
My bill will create a team of independent scientists, disease-control specialists, wildlife biologists, and foresters who will implement the provisions of the bill, provide a scientific advisory service to the Legislature, and guarantee Commission accountability to our state’s citizens. This accountability will ensure that Pennsylvania’s wildlife resources are being wisely managed as directed by Title 34 state law and the Pennsylvania Constitution.
My bill also offers innovative opportunities to control chronic wasting disease (CWD). Because of the rapid, uncontrolled progression of CWD throughout the state, additional oversight is needed to ensure that the PGC is utilizing sound scientific principles to protect our vulnerable wildlife and public health as a whole.
My legislation has no cost to the General Fund or taxpayers. Full implementation is expected to bring back hunters and create healthy wildlife and habitat, sustain revenue within the PGC without hurting sportsmen, and spur new economic activity throughout rural Pennsylvania.
Please join me to cosponsoring this important piece of legislation.