PITTSBURGH (AP) — Major oil and natural gas industry groups in Pennsylvania are backing efforts to change the state's endangered and threatened species laws, despite objections from some sportsmen's and environmental groups.

The Marcellus Shale Coalition, the Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association, and the Associated Petroleum Industries of Pennsylvania outlined their support in an Aug. 26 letter obtained by The Associated Press. The industry says the proposed legislation provides for more effective resource development, and more transparency.

But George Jugovic of the environmental group Penn Future says the legislation could make it nearly impossible to list new species, and that they strongly oppose changing the existing system.

The gas-rich Marcellus Shale has led to a drilling boom in Pennsylvania. The formation also extends under Ohio, West Virginia and New York.