Habitat & Conservation  |  09/11/2023

Pennsylvania Action Alert: Oppose HB1300 to Protect Wildlife Conservation Funding


Bill would divert $150 million from wildlife and habitat management  

WHAT: The Pennsylvania Senate recently passed Pennsylvania House Bill 1300 (HB1300)which included amendments to transfer $150 million from the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) Game Fund - money earmarked for wildlife and habitat restoration and management – to other uses. This revision undercuts the PGC’s budget, undermines license purchasing/funding from hunters, and risks losing federal funding through The Pittman-Roberston Act.

BACKGROUND: The PGC Game Fund, and the agency itself, are funded solely through hunting license fees, land and resources sales and royalties (purchased with license funds) and by federal excise taxes on hunting and shooting supplies as established by the Pittman-Robertson Act. Diverting $150 million from the Game Fund represents a massive cut of ~30 percent to the Game Fund’s value. 

Likewise, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever, along with many other national and state conservation organizations, are concerned this financial diversion from the Game Fund would render Pennsylvania ineligible to receive Pittman Robertson federal funds at an estimated $41 million per year. These funds are collected through fees and excise taxes on hunting and shooting equipment and dispersed to the states by the US Fish and Wildlife Service as matching grant money to state wildlife management agencies. Due to the large number of hunters in Pennsylvania, it ranks third among all fifty states in the amount of funds received each year. Any diversion of these funds away from the state fish and wildlife agency could render Pennsylvania ineligible for these funds (Sections 80.10, 80.11, 80.20 of the Federal code).

TAKE ACTION: Join Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever in opposing the transfer of $150 million from the Game Fund in HB1300. Ask your PA House Representative to reconsider the transfer and remove it from the final state budget bill with the following language:

Dear Legislator,

The Pennsylvania Senate recently amended and passed Pennsylvania House Bill 1300 (HB 1300) – the state’s annual budget bill that determines spending for all state programs. 

Unfortunately, the Senate included a line-item that would divert $150 million from the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s (PGC) Game Fund to another use. This transfer not only undercuts the PGC’s budget – funded by hunters and excise taxes on hunting and shooting equipment – but it also puts at risk the agency’s eligibility for federal conservation funding in the future; an additional ~$41 million per year in our state from the Pittman-Robertson Act. Although the transfer specifically targets oil and gas royalties from State Gamelands, according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, those funds are considered license revenue because the property was acquired and is managed using license revenue (statute 50 CFR § 80.20).

This action would set an alarming precedent for future legislative sessions, while undercutting the authority of PGC to manage habitat and wildlife for the public good in the future. For these reasons, I’m requesting your help to remove the Game Fund amendment from HB1300. 

Thank you for protecting the habitat and wildlife resources of Pennsylvania!

CONTACT: For questions or more information regarding Pennsylvania House Bill 1300, please contact Kent Adams, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever's northeast director of conservation delivery, at kadams@pheasantsforever.org.