Changes in Pa. process for listing endangered species could risk federal funds

    The federal government is warning that changing the way endangered species are listed in Pennsylvania could mean a loss of millions of dollars in federal grants.

    Republican-backed proposals in Pennsylvania’s House and Senate would require that two independent state commissions send their proposed endangered labels to another agency for review, as well as accept input from state lawmakers.

    Proponents say the additional oversight is needed to ensure a single agency’s endangered species declaration doesn’t put the brakes on industry and land use.

    An opponent of the bills, state Rep. Steve McCarter, D-Montgomery, says he takes seriously the potential loss of up to $28 million in federal funds.

    A House Republican sponsoring the proposal, however, has said the threat of lost federal funding is empty – and it’s true that federal officials have not said losing it is a sure thing.

    But an official with the Fish and Wildlife Service of the Department of the Interior says it remains questionable whether federal grants could go to state agencies for conservation purposes when those agencies don’t have sole control over their conservation programs.

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