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Friday, September 3, 2010

PA Fish & Boat Commission Wants Piece Of Marcellus Action

Fish and Boat Commission Executive Director to Make Case for Severance Tax

Harrisburg, PA - Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) Executive Director John Arway will be the featured speaker at a special evening program being hosted by the Pa Steelhead Association to discuss Marcellus Shale and other issues affecting the angling and boating community. The event will take place at 7 p.m. on September 8 at the American Legion Club at 4109 West 12th Street in Erie.

Joining Mr. Arway at the meeting will be PFBC Commissioner Edward Mascharka III, who represents the Commission’s 1st District, which includes Butler, Clarion, Crawford, Erie, Forest, Lawrence, Mercer, Venango, and Warren counties.

Mr. Arway will offer the Fish and Boat Commission’s perspective on the current and potential impacts of Marcellus development to aquatic resources, fishing and boating. He will explain the Commission’s role as it relates to enforcing pollution laws and advising on Marcellus activities and make the case for enactment of the proposed severance tax. He will also describe the authority to enforce water pollution laws vested in the Commission as far back as 1909 and the important roles that Commission staff continues to play in making sure that Marcellus and other projects are designed and implemented with as little impact to the resource as possible.

Mr. Arway will explain how the Fish and Boat Commission wants to help the industry protect our waters and habitats and comply with the environmental laws that the General Assembly promulgates. Most people do not realize that the Commission relies almost entirely on fishing licenses, boat registrations, and federal funding tied to fishing and boating to pay for everything it does. This includes trying to keep pace and stay ahead of the curve on the current and projected impacts of Marcellus development to fishing, boating, and the resources the Commission is entrusted to protect.

In a sneak preview of his talk, Mr. Arway noted, “If we received a portion of a severance tax, we could take a collaborative approach with both the industry and the other agencies that are reviewing and advising on projects. Ultimately, we would like to have Commission staff in position to spend the necessary time reviewing and commenting on projects, working in the field with developers and other agencies and enforcing the water pollution laws of the Commonwealth to make sure our resources are protected. I truly believe that the public expect that service from us, and the resources under our jurisdiction depend upon it to survive.”

The program will also provide anglers and boaters an opportunity to meet Commissioner Mascharka, who joined the PFBC Board of Commissioners in June. Other groups expected to be at the meeting include the SONS of Lake Erie, Lawrence Park Fishing Club and Erie Sport Fishing Association.

The program is open to the public and plenty of free parking is available.

The mission of the Fish and Boat Commission is to protect, conserve, and enhance the Commonwealth’s aquatic resources and provide fishing and boating opportunities. For more information about fishing and boating in Pennsylvania, please visit

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