Our opinion:?Speed up or slow down?

Most politicians, especially conservative (read that Republican) politicians, like to campaign on the message of limiting the bureaucracy, peeling away layers to speed up and make government more efficient.

It’s an appeal not lost on Democrats, who also claim to pursue the same path.

In an obvious nod to that notion, President Barack Obama attempted an appeal to conservatives during his 2011 State of the Union address by bemoaning the layers of bureaucracy regarding Pacific Coast salmon, an example of how bureaucracies should be streamlined to simplify regulations. He said his goal was to “merge, consolidate and reorganize” the government to reduce those layers of bureaucracy. He didn’t say how.

But, suppose you want government to work a little slower, maybe make things a bit more complicated.

You follow the formula in the reverse; you add to the bureaucracy.

Which is just what companion bills in the Pennsylvania House and Senate would do in the case of declaring Wild Trout streams and endangered species.

Currently, those designations are handled by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and the Pennsylvania Game Commission, two bureaucracies that for more than a century have relied on systems of water quality measurement and species and habitat surveys to make their decisions.

Not good enough, say the Republican sponsors of the two bills. They want another layer of bureaucracy, and a pretty thick one at that.

As currently written, the legislation would require that all species that currently enjoy endangered status in Pennsylvania would over a period of two years be removed from that list until they could be approved by the Independent Regulatory Review Commission. The IRRC, whose members are politically appointed, would essentially have veto power over such decisions by the game and fish commissions, and the process of review is estimated to take as much as two years.

From the talking points of the sponsors, one might assume the bills are aimed at reining in two out-of-control agencies that have no oversight. In fact, both the Fish and Boat Commission and the Game Commission currently have oversight requirements, and, according to their directors, both already solicit and accept public comment on their decisions.