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Host: Scott LaMar

STFriday: endangered species and craft brews

Written by Matt Paul, Reporter/Producer | Dec 6, 2013 6:01 AM

What to look for on Smart Talk Friday:


From left to right: Sen. Alloway and John Arway

Controversial legislation that would change the way endangered species are designated in Pennsylvania awaits House action after earning key committee approval last month.

It would strip the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission and Pennsylvania Game Commission of their authority to designate endangered species and streams. The agencies would instead submit proposals to the state's Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) -- and ultimately lawmakers -- for review.

Supporters say it will ensure a consistent, accountable process of designating and permitting that balances the environment and the economy.

Critics say it politicizes the process by which Pennsylvania protects its fish and wildlife.

Mary Wilson explores the bill's nuances in separate interviews with midstate Senator Rich Alloway and PFBC Executive Director John Arway and, who stand on opposite sides of the issue.

Later, we'll discuss the political ramifications of Pennsylvania's newly enacted transportation funding plan with Muhlenberg College political scientist Chris Borick.

Transportation funding was one of Governor Corbett's top priorities entering the legislative session, and he signed HB 1060 into law just before the Thanksgiving holiday.

This week's Smart Talk Friday concludes with a trip to The Vineyard & Brewery at Hershey, where they've recently debuted a "Special Ops" lineup of small-batch craft brews to benefit a planned memorial to fallen soldiers at the PA National Guard headquarters in Ft. Indiantown Gap.

On tap this week is "Blue Angel," a blueberry-pomegranate wheat beer. Spoiler alert: it's delicious


Brewmaster Ryan DeLutis strikes a pose by his fermenting tanks and VP Mike Wilson pours a pint of "Flash Gourd'n" in the tasting room.

The memorial envisioned by the Pennsylvania National Guard's 131st Transportation Company would honor Sergeant Edward Koehler of Lebanon, Staff Sargent Brian Mowery of Halifax and Staff Sargent Kenneth VanGiesen.

All three were killed by a single roadside bomb explosion in Afghanistan in 2011.

Captain Dana Howett says their closing in on one-third of the at least $60,000 necessary to complete the memorial.

You can email Captain Howett ( for details on how to make a direct contribution.

Listen to the program:

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  • Mary Wilson img 2013-12-06 09:45

    E-mail from Jerry Hassinger, Wildlife Biologist:

    The legislature has failed to determine the scope of the problem. This is another unfunded mandate the costs of which are borne by the Pennsylvania sportsmen and not by the Pennsylvania taxpayer.

    While the timber and forest products industry has been significantly impacted by the economic downturn and a depressed building market, there’s no evidence that concern for bats played a significant role in this scenario. Consider, too, that even given the depressed building market, there has been an annual average of 2,425 timber sales for the past 20 years. Add this to the 262,809 buildings constructed in the last ten years and the 41,311 gas wells drilled this century. There’s more: last year alone there were 34,163 projects active in our state with a potential impact on endangered and threatened species. What percentage of all this activity has been negatively impacted in a significant way by concerns for E&T species? What’s acceptable?

    I’ve reached the conclusion that while things can be improved, cooperation is more important than legislation. The industries seeking relief have generally suffered from the soft economy but the past and current scale of their activity, suggested by the volume of PNDI searches, has not in my opinion been slowed significantly by concerns for state endangered and threatened species. There’s no need for HB 1576.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-12-06 09:50

    E-mail from

    "Has Jeff received any campaign donations from big business.
    But if land and species protection go the way Pyle wants.
    It will be another dark day for the states natural environment.
    First it was logging,oil,coal and now cracking.
    And yet we are still financially I the red.

    Let's not forget it's an "industry backed bill".
    Which means largely republican.
    Which means that the backing politicians recieved campaign money.
    Which means they never were trusted,elected representatives of the PA population.
    With global warming,and the already damaged state,we should leave our forests alone.
    That's why the land is "state,federal game and forests".
    Not industrial,commercial.

    I've read the control Pyle has as a politician,ie resources,land.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-12-06 10:00

    E-mail from Sharon L. Narushoff:

    Thank you so much for the great program, Radio Smart Talk. As a Pennsylvanian I am adamantly opposed to taking authority from the Fish & Game Commission. The true agenda of conservatives is to eliminate the concept of endangered species altogether, and to roll back very hard-won environmental protections in general. They are willing to achieve this over time with a piecemeal attack.
    The failure, and even willful failure, to understand that humans are part of nature and not separate from it is very dangerous; I believe that if we do not protect endangered species, one day we will find ourselves endangered, and that the solution to many problems is to limit human population growth as much as possible.
    Sharon L. Narushoff
    Hanover, PA 17331"

  • Larry img 2013-12-06 11:09

    ST failed to disclose that this legislation is proposed by ALEC, a conservative republican advisory that is un-American,
    and not the constituents of Pennsylvania.

    ALEC intent is to weaken individual rights, consumer rights, work place rights, and quality of life. ALEC wants to destroy the tax base that invests in infrastructure, job training and education, and that quality of life.

    These are the values of America being attacked that attract business to both Pennsylvania and our nation.

    ALECS purpose and the State Policy Network do not want to create a better civilization, but a Plutocracy.

  • Jim Foster img 2013-12-06 13:44

    I enjoyed today's feature on the proposed changes to the endangered species law. I think WITF has been covering this issue in a very fair and balanced manner.

    I think Sen. Alloway haven't really addressed the fact that the current law already has enough input from the political process. The final approvals come by the commissioners, which are, of course, appointed by the Governor and approved by the Senate. What the proposed changes might do is make the process entirely political, rather than the present balance between science and politics.

    Here is a blog post I did recently which discusses the issue in more detail.

    All the best.

  • Skip Carlsbaugh img 2013-12-07 10:50

    Senator Alloway is a stand-up guy and is doing the right thing for his constituents. The gameless commission is nothing but a rogue agency who needs to be reigned in on many fronts. They take advantage of their supposed "independent" status and abuse their power. Putting them in their place, subservient to the commonwealths best interests is LONG overdue.

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