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Wildlife commissions to merge? Study out

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Posted: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 1:26 pm

The Legislative Budget and Finance Committee has issued a report about the feasibility of a combined Fish and Wildlife Commission for Pennsylvania. 

This is not the first time that a merger has been discussed for the Fish and Boat and Game Commissions. It has been considered a couple of times over the past 60 years. 

In 1947, the Joint State Government Commission reported that the two commissions should not be merged. In 1962, the topic was revisited and a Wildlife Management Institute report that a consolidated commission would produce better results for both resources. This was also recommended in 1972, and again in 1987. 

The most recent time this suggestion was brought up was in 2003, by House Resolution 2003-15, which was intended to provide the House Game and Fisheries Committee with a broad range of options for structuring the fish and wildlife agencies. 

“This certainly isn’t the first time that a merge has been studied, but nothing has happened up until this point,” Travis Lau, Press Secretary of the Pennsylvania Game Commission said. “I am not sure if the talks regarding a merger have taken place, but I am sure in the upcoming weeks and months we will see what they will ultimately decide.”

Martin Causer, chairman of the House Game and Fisheries Committee, said, “We are currently evaluating the study. The Legislative Budget and Finance Committee is going to be coming before the Game and Fisheries Committee to present their findings. It is something that we need to fully understand before we make a decision. We are the only state in the nation that has two separate commissions, and the study did find that it would be feasible. But we do have to look at all of the details.” 

 For the rest of the story, see the April 16 issue of the Leader-Enterprise.

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