Failed PGC Deer Policy Costing Taxpayers $92 Million Per Year
By Phil Wagner
On February 20th in the state capitol, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale announced in the presence of a room of sportsmen that the official financial audit of the Pennsylvania Game Commission was underway, and overdue. The audit will determine how proceeds from the years of natural gas and timber revenues have been handled, among other areas of mismanagement and concern. Although the focus will be on 2014-2017, that does not prevent the audit from going back much further toward answering related questions submitted by Pennsylvania sportsmen. The AG stated that he hopes the audit will be completed by the end of the year.
The audit represents another major step in correcting major problems that exist within the agency and that affect the multiple-use conservation of Pennsylvania wildlife and forest resources.
Several weeks ago, the Auditor General met with a group of supporters of the Game Commission’s policies in Lewisburg and heard their positive comments of the PGC. Within the past two weeks the AG has invited two other groups of individual sportsmen from throughout the state to meet with him in Hazelton and York toward hearing more representative comments on what issues his office should be investigating.
After hearing comments at these two meetings it is now apparent that issues as far back as the early 2000s will become a focus of his PGC audit. Much information has been provided to him at these two meetings with even more information to be provided at a later date.
As a result of the PGC’s mismanagement of wildlife and forest resources, about 150 species of wildlife are now in decline or at imminent risk. The PGC is in direct violation of The Pennsylvania Constitution’s directive to wisely manage the state’s natural resources for all the residents of Pennsylvania.
Financial assessments of the Game Commission’s deer management program by the Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee have shown impacts of PGC’s mismanagement of forest and wildlife have resulted in the estimated loss of 270,000 hunters, an annual impact of $1.2 billion to the state economy and a cumulative loss of $10 billion from 2000 to 2017, the loss of an estimated 13,000 jobs, the loss of $92.5 million per year in government tax revenues, uncounted bankruptcies and family business closures, empty cabins and closed hunting camps, an extreme lack of wildlife for the recreational enjoyment of millions of citizens, and a risk to the future of sport hunting in Pennsylvania. Therefore, the PGC stands in direct and deliberate violation of both Title 34 (The Game and Wildlife Code) and the Pennsylvania Constitution. The agency is unwilling and unable to resolve the deer management and wildlife habitat crisis.
Resolution resides in the hands of the Pennsylvania Legislature. House Bill 1483 was designed specifically for this purpose: to return deer, grouse, and abundant wildlife to the state; to create ample habitat to support our wildlife resources; to improve deer hunting while improving the forest ecosystem for all outdoor enthusiast; and to end 18 years of biological, social, and economic impacts that are strangling wildlife, sportsmen and the outdoor industry. It is necessary that Pennsylvania House Bill 1483 is now passed.
Call or Take this to your State Legislators “NOW” !!!
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