Endangered and Threatened Species Proposed Rulemaking
The following is a web version of the correspondence letter; a PDF version (46 kb) is also available to view.
September 20, 2010
Albany, NY 12233-4750
RE: Proposed Rulemaking Part 182- Endangered and Threatened Species
Dear Mr. Rosenblatt:
The Conservation Fund Advisory Board would like to take this opportunity to comment on the proposed amendments to Part 182 - Endangered and Threatened Species of Fish and Wildlife; Species of Concern. This issue was originally brought to the attention of the Board during the Region 6 annual review meeting that occurred in early August. Since that meeting staff from numerous DEC Regions have also expressed their concern in regard to the proposed regulations and the increased workload it would cause on staff that are being funded out of the Conservation Fund.
It has been presented by some that this regulation change is necessary to formally outline what the requirements are and help streamline the permitting process. In talking with individuals in the Regions I am being told that the minimum thresholds that would trigger a permit will increase staff time by two-to three-fold in some cases.
The Board is extremely perplexed as to how on one hand we are being told there are historic cutbacks to the Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources, and that Conservation Fund staff will be severely limited in the duties that they will be able to perform. At the same time, the Department is proposing a regulation that will place additional burden on that already reduced staff.
I have personally been following this issue very closely since it was first proposed back in 2008. Several DEC staff from Central Office and regional offices contacted me at that time to express their concern with the direction the Dept. was going with these regulations. I strongly assert that the proper way to handle the proposed changes would be to seek legislation and find a means by which to fund the proposed changes. There is obviously no support for legislation, and now Conservation Fund staff will be the ones forced to handle the additional workload. As part of the regulation there is no mention of fees for the permits. Why would the Dept not suggest setting up a Division, Bureau or Unit to handle these activities and establish a way to fund those activities?
The Conservation Fund Advisory Board strongly supports efforts to protect threatened and endangered species. However, at a time when we are facing budget shortfalls and drastic decreases in staff, the board cannot support any action will take away from the traditional fish and wildlife activities being performed by Conservation Fund Staff. At the September 13th Board Meeting the Board unanimously passed a motion to oppose the proposed Part 182 regulations. If the regulations are passed the Board on behalf of the 1.5 million license holders will take serious issue with any of the activities of the proposed regulation being paid for with Conservation Fund resources.
Chairman, Conservation Fund Advisory Board