Bald Eagle

Harrisburg − December 14, 2021 – The Pennsylvania Senate today approved State Senator Lisa M. Boscola’s bill (Senate Bill 337) that would increase the state fine from $200 to $2,000 for killing a bald or golden eagle.

“Bald and golden eagles have fought their way back from the endangered species list – and while I’m very happy for that – they need to remain protected.  By moving this bill forward today, we as a state can show our passion and pride behind these amazing animals and ensure their continued growth in the wilds of our commonwealth.,” Boscola (D-Northampton/Lehigh) stated.

Boscola said the eagle was the focus of one of the greatest conservation efforts in American history.  Congress passed a law to protect bald eagles in 1940 and golden eagles in 1962. The eagle population had been threatened into near extinction by poaching, hunting, pesticide use, habitat destruction and other dangers throughout the early 20th century.

Aided by the protection laws and the state Game Commission’s re-entry program, the nesting population of bald eagles in Pennsylvania increased from three pairs in 1980 to 270 pairs in 2013 to over 300 today. The bald eagle was removed from the federal endangered species list in 2007. Its status in Pennsylvania was changed to “protected” in 2014.

“This bill provides for a specific penalty, $2,000, if you harm or you kill a bald eagle or a golden eagle in Pennsylvania, Boscola said.  “It increases the gradings for penalties, and it does not infringe on the Federal Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.”

Revenue from the fines would be designated towards replacement costs.  The Federal Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act would continue to apply. Boscola first introduced her legislation in August of 2015.

The Northampton County lawmaker said the eagle symbolizes strength, and still holds great significance within Native American cultures and traditions.  It has also been displayed on the United States’ seal since 1782. 

Senate Bill 337 passed by a 47-2 vote and now goes to the House for its consideration.

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