|September 13, 2021 01:29 PM|
|Representative Kristine C. Howard|
|All House members|
|Stop Habitat Loss|
We all recognize the importance of preventing the extinction of endangered species and safeguarding our shared environment. For this reason, Pennsylvania has correctly enacted laws prohibiting the direct killing or harming of individual members of threatened and endangered species, but there is presently a major blind spot in these legal protections.
There are no strong regulations protecting these species from more indirect harm to the species as a whole. The deliberate killing of a protected animal carries a penalty; the destruction of a protected animal’s habitat does not.
Protecting nests, mating grounds, and feeding areas should be at least as important as stopping poachers, yet current law has little to say on the matter. I find this legislative oversight unconscionable, and therefore plan on introducing legislation that would require, as part of the permitting process for the construction of residential and nonresidential buildings, information be submitted and reviewed to determine whether threatened or endangered species may be negatively impacted by such construction.
Under this legislation, PA’s Fish and Boat Commission, Game Commission, and Department of Conservation and Natural Resources would be tasked with ensuring endangered species habitats are protected.
This new process should help us live up to the Pennsylvania Constitution’s promise of environmental preservation. Please join me in this effort to protect our native species and our natural environment.