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EPA Rejects New Petition to Federally Ban Lead Ammo and Fishing Tackle

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April 10, 2012

EPA Rejects New Petition to Federally Ban Lead Ammo and Fishing Tackle

By Chad Love

Remember last month, when the EPA was petitioned (once again) to ban lead ammo and fishing tackle? Well, guess what? The EPA has (once again) rejected the petition...
 
From this story on infozine.com:
 
The Environmental Protection Agency today rejected a request for federal regulation of toxic lead in hunting ammunition, again abdicating its responsibility to protect the environment from toxic substances. Earlier this year, 150 organizations in 38 states petitioned the EPA for federal rules requiring use of nontoxic bullets and shot for hunting and shooting sports to protect public health and prevent the lead poisoning of millions of birds, including bald eagles and endangered condors.

“It’s shameful that the EPA refuses to save wildlife from senseless lead poisoning,” said Jeff Miller of the Center for Biological Diversity. “The poisoning of bald eagles and other wildlife is a national tragedy the EPA can easily put an end to, since there are plenty of safe, available alternatives to lead ammo.”

 Now keep in mind that this quote was pulled from a press release from the petition's backers, so don’t rake me over the coals for the obvious slant. I just thought it'd be interesting to see how the other side spins it. And just so you don't think the issue's dead, here's the last graf from the press release:
 
“We look forward to putting this issue before a court, since the law is very clear that EPA has the responsibility to protect wildlife and people from toxic lead exposure,” said Miller. “The EPA never evaluated the merits of regulating toxic lead ammo, nor has a court ruled on its authority to act under the federal toxics law — well, that will soon change.”

 
Which means, of course, that a lawsuit is on the way, so stay tuned...

Comments (16)

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from weswes088 wrote 2 years 1 week ago

People wonder and complain that the EPA and USFWS don't do enough to regulate and protect the environment and species of concern. It's because they're too busy and spend all their money dealing with constant lawsuits whenever they take action or refuse a request for action!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from IND_NRA wrote 2 years 1 week ago

Thank God the EPA struck it down for now. I hope that the courts uphold the EPA's ruling. There is no reason to ban lead ammo.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from dtbc333 wrote 2 years 1 week ago

I think restricting it's use in areas that do have a problem with Condors, Eagles or other birds being poisoned makes more sense than an all out ban. And by "problem" I mean proven and chronic. One dead bird is not a reason to ban anything.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RockySquirrel wrote 2 years 1 week ago

Right up front, I am going to say that I really have no background or information or education on this topic. Not enough to form an opinion yet, but I am interested in learning all sizes of the argument. From what little I read, and to be honest, it is not a hot topic with me. Not yet anyway. There has been a lot of progress in developing good substitutes for lead. In some places (not here yet anyway) you already have to use a substitute or an alloy (steel shot). Other than cost, what is the problem with replacing lead? I hate lead fouling in my older guns anyway. I think I would pay a few bucks more a box if it (proved to) protect some wildlife. What is the issue? Despite the wolf trapping article many of us all commented on, Lead poisoning is no way to die, for any animal. If I was an animal (Ok I am), and had a choice, I would rather die a clean(er) death in a trap then have my facilities rot out from under me with lead poisoning. Isn't it part of our (part time) profession as hunters and fishermen to protect our environment. Isn't it what we do? Is this an issue we as conservationist should get behind rather than in front of?

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from RockySquirrel wrote 2 years 1 week ago

Sorry faculties not facilities. "Faculties rot out from under me"

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from rock rat wrote 2 years 1 week ago

I'd be happy to use unleaded in hunting amo, heck I already do, but I have a number of problems with this proposed legislation.

They want to ban lead in all amo. I shoot a lot of 22lr at the range.

Just because I don't use led doesn't mean I want to tell other hunters what to do.

The orgs spearheading the lawsuit are orgs I'd disagree with over anything. CBD isn't a legitimate conservation org.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from JohnR wrote 2 years 1 week ago

It hasn't been proven that lead bullets in gut piles were the cause of lead poisoning in Condors, nor has it been proven that lead sinkers are killing Eagles.
I read about a subsequent study concerning the lead issue with Condors and that study citied a high concentration of environmental lead in the Condor's habitat.
So the next question is, if lead hunting ammunition is banned in Condor and Eagle habitat, and the birds are still dying from apparent lead poisoning, then what do you do (and please, no dumb comments like "well it would probably be coming from old bullets laying around").

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from hermit crab wrote 2 years 1 week ago

RockySquirrel:
The majority of the people against any lead bans on hunting do so because of the principle of it - they don't want to be told what to do. Alot of the people complaining about any proposed lead ban are willing to drop a grand on a new gun, but complain if they have to spend a single red cent extra on steel shot or any other non-toxic shot/bullets. The evidence for lead toxicity is and has been out there for a long time.

In my mind, being a conservationist means making personal sacrifices for the greater good of the wildlife/ecosystem as a whole. I'm ok with a reduced effective shotgun range due to using steel instead of lead shot, or letting a deer walk sometimes because my range with lead-free rifle ammo isn't as far as with lead ammo. Even if there's uncertainty, I'd rather err on the side of caution. That's just my opinion, and you know what they say about opinions...

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Recoil Rob wrote 2 years 1 week ago

It depends on how it's done. I'm not convinced that there is a real problem, many others aren't either. I think the cost of lead alternatives is a large factor in this. Many of us have large supplies of ammo that would be rendered unusable if legislation banning the use of lead were implemented. I still have boxes of lead waterfowl loads that sit obsolete in the basement.

However, if legislation were passed banning the manufacture of lead ammo I can see this working. Any ammo already made and in the distribution pipeline could be used.

Then the burden would fall on the ammo manufacturers to switch to non-tox by a certain date in the future. They would have to find a viable substitute and make it affordable in the next 5 years. Eventually the lead ammo already on hand would be used up and the changover would be seamless. I run out of my laid in supply of .22 RF, I must buy the new stuff.

There would be no costs to enforce a ban since any ammo would be legal to use, just that eventually lead ammo would be gone and the only thing to replace it would be non-tox. This allows us to use what we have stored up and take part in a change over.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ben Blaker wrote 2 years 1 week ago

I hope they don't swing the way of Great Britain, and Europe, with each country taking a different law. I live in Northern Ireland, and like Scotland, the use of lead for shooting wildfowl over wetlands is forbidden, but you can use it over dry land for hunting wildfowl. England and Wales however, have adopted the policy of lead for everything, EXCEPT WILDFOWL ANYWHERE. What this basically means is, that you're hunting inland with lead, and a flight of duck suddenly appear, then you have to change ammo very quickly LOL. Stupidity in Government reigns everywhere. Most clay grounds now ban STEEL ammo, due to richochets, although they first adopted it due to enviromental concerns (Remember, there is a lot more lead fired at clay grounds than ever lands on a field or in the woods from hunting). Basically, it's just anotherattempt to put an extra nail into our hunting coffin.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from blackjac wrote 2 years 1 week ago

Wildlife issues aside-Lead in paint is no longer used due to kids eating the toxic paint chips--a good thing. Spoke with an "EPA" person some time ago about lead issues, he commented "if you are living in an older home with copper plumbing, you have lead in your body system caused by the lead solder use to join the plumbing"! Ever chew on a lead pencil when you were a kid??Watch out plumbers---PETA is watching you.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from crowman wrote 2 years 1 week ago

A " lead pencil " is graphite not lead. I'm a plumber and those old lines that were soldered with 50/50 solder gets a patina over the copper pipe as well as the solder joint where the water does not contact the pipe and doesn't leech lead into the water. I've melted and installed tons of lead in my day and have had blood work done to include any lead poisoning and I don't have even a detectible amount in me. Why because I made sure that I was using safe ways so that I didn't poison myself. As far as kids eating paint chips off the wall of your house your pretty much living in a sh** hole anyway and your doomed in life. All these people suing for a ban on leads goal is to make it so expensive or complicated to make people say the heck with it and stop participating in the sports we choose. If a few birds die of lead ingestion that's just the price we have to pay for people overrunning the earth. Nobody's crying about the 100's of millions of birds and animals we hunters kill every year during hunting seasons just the few in the scheme of things that might ingest lead. It's just like the 50,000 people that die in car crashes every year it's just a risk we take but we won't stop driving even if it saves all those people. As far as the Center for Biological Diversity GO FU** YOURSELF.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from crowman wrote 2 years 1 week ago

A " lead pencil " is graphite not lead. I'm a plumber and those old lines that were soldered with 50/50 solder gets a patina over the copper pipe as well as the solder joint where the water does not contact the pipe and doesn't leech lead into the water. I've melted and installed tons of lead in my day and have had blood work done to include any lead poisoning and I don't have even a detectible amount in me. Why because I made sure that I was using safe ways so that I didn't poison myself. As far as kids eating paint chips off the wall of your house your pretty much living in a sh** hole anyway and your doomed in life. All these people suing for a ban on leads goal is to make it so expensive or complicated to make people say the heck with it and stop participating in the sports we choose. If a few birds die of lead ingestion that's just the price we have to pay for people overrunning the earth. Nobody's crying about the 100's of millions of birds and animals we hunters kill every year during hunting seasons just the few in the scheme of things that might ingest lead. It's just like the 50,000 people that die in car crashes every year it's just a risk we take but we won't stop driving even if it saves all those people. As far as the Center for Biological Diversity GO FU** YOURSELF.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from HogBlog wrote 2 years 1 week ago

Rocky, the arguments against the lead ban run the gamut, from the higher price of lead-free ammo to the lack of availability. If the ban proposed by the CBD were passed, it would ban lead ammo for any purpose, not only for hunting. They claim they would make an exception for military and law enforcement, but that language does not exist in the ban proposal.

The bigger argument, though, is that there is absolutely no evidence that lead ammunition poses a threat to the environment or the wildlife in it. Does it poison individual animals? The evidence is compelling. But is it wiping out populations? No. The condor is a special case, but action is already being taken to preserve those birds (whether that action is right or wrong is still being debated... but the action was taken).

There is simply no reason for the EPA to ban lead ammo, even if the Toxic Substances Act allowed them to regulate it. If there is a problem, then that should fall to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, just as it did with the lead ban for waterfowl. The CBD is targeting the EPA for this because they know they'll find no traction with the USFWS... specifically because their argument has no scientific merit. And if there are local areas of special concern (e.g. the condor zone), they should be managed by state agencies, and not the feds... and that management should be based on science, not public opinion.

That said, I absolutely support hunters switching to lead free ammo voluntarily. I think it is good form to consider the possibility that your bullet fragments may kill an eagle, or even a danged old raven. That's not what you were shooting at, why do you want to take a chance on killing it?

But that choice isn't for everyone, and it isn't even possible for everyone. Log into Cabelas, for example, and try to find yourself some lead-free ammo for that .303, or price out a couple boxes for that .300 Weatherby or .257 Roberts. Better yet, try to find any of it at your local hunting and gun shop. If you're not a handloader, there's a whole swath of calibers and loadings that aren't available... and some of them will never be available in lead-free.

It's a complicated issue, made even more complicated because it has become totally politicized, with the HSUS on one extreme and the NRA on the other. Hunters are stuck in the middle trying to make the right choices, but the signal-to-noise ratio makes it kind of hard to hear the truth.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jusdane wrote 2 years 1 week ago

Honestly, to me it doesn't make sense to ban lead shot for waterfowl (which is a great practice) if you don't also ban lead from making it to the water (as in lures, sinkers, etc). The lead is no different so how can the government decide only the lead used as "shot" is dangerous to the environment ... but look the other way when it comes to the lead used for fishing?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from HogBlog wrote 2 years 1 week ago

Jusdane, the CBD and other groups are also targeting lead fishing tackle. Their first effort at getting the EPA to ban this was rejected on a technicality, but similar efforts have consistently ben rebuffed on the basis that there is simply no evidence that lead fishing tackle presents a significant environmental threat.

The reason lead shot was banned for waterfowl, by the way, was largely driven by the fact that bald eagles (endangered at the time) were eating the lead-laced waterfowl carcasses and dying of lead poisoning. As with the condors, the lead-ban proponents used the Endangered Species Act for leverage.

Nevertheless, the difference in most lead fishing tackle and lead shotgun pellets is that the waterfowl are more likely to ingest the smaller pellets from the mud than to eat sinkers, jig heads, or lead-core fly line. Some birds are reported to have eaten these things and taken ill, particularly swans and loons, but in the big picture, these are limited and individual deaths and do not impact the overall health of the species. As with hunters choosing to use lead alternatives, a particularly conscientious fisherman would probably stop using lead, but there's no pressing, ecological reason for doing so.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from IND_NRA wrote 2 years 1 week ago

Thank God the EPA struck it down for now. I hope that the courts uphold the EPA's ruling. There is no reason to ban lead ammo.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from RockySquirrel wrote 2 years 1 week ago

Right up front, I am going to say that I really have no background or information or education on this topic. Not enough to form an opinion yet, but I am interested in learning all sizes of the argument. From what little I read, and to be honest, it is not a hot topic with me. Not yet anyway. There has been a lot of progress in developing good substitutes for lead. In some places (not here yet anyway) you already have to use a substitute or an alloy (steel shot). Other than cost, what is the problem with replacing lead? I hate lead fouling in my older guns anyway. I think I would pay a few bucks more a box if it (proved to) protect some wildlife. What is the issue? Despite the wolf trapping article many of us all commented on, Lead poisoning is no way to die, for any animal. If I was an animal (Ok I am), and had a choice, I would rather die a clean(er) death in a trap then have my facilities rot out from under me with lead poisoning. Isn't it part of our (part time) profession as hunters and fishermen to protect our environment. Isn't it what we do? Is this an issue we as conservationist should get behind rather than in front of?

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from weswes088 wrote 2 years 1 week ago

People wonder and complain that the EPA and USFWS don't do enough to regulate and protect the environment and species of concern. It's because they're too busy and spend all their money dealing with constant lawsuits whenever they take action or refuse a request for action!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from rock rat wrote 2 years 1 week ago

I'd be happy to use unleaded in hunting amo, heck I already do, but I have a number of problems with this proposed legislation.

They want to ban lead in all amo. I shoot a lot of 22lr at the range.

Just because I don't use led doesn't mean I want to tell other hunters what to do.

The orgs spearheading the lawsuit are orgs I'd disagree with over anything. CBD isn't a legitimate conservation org.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from hermit crab wrote 2 years 1 week ago

RockySquirrel:
The majority of the people against any lead bans on hunting do so because of the principle of it - they don't want to be told what to do. Alot of the people complaining about any proposed lead ban are willing to drop a grand on a new gun, but complain if they have to spend a single red cent extra on steel shot or any other non-toxic shot/bullets. The evidence for lead toxicity is and has been out there for a long time.

In my mind, being a conservationist means making personal sacrifices for the greater good of the wildlife/ecosystem as a whole. I'm ok with a reduced effective shotgun range due to using steel instead of lead shot, or letting a deer walk sometimes because my range with lead-free rifle ammo isn't as far as with lead ammo. Even if there's uncertainty, I'd rather err on the side of caution. That's just my opinion, and you know what they say about opinions...

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ben Blaker wrote 2 years 1 week ago

I hope they don't swing the way of Great Britain, and Europe, with each country taking a different law. I live in Northern Ireland, and like Scotland, the use of lead for shooting wildfowl over wetlands is forbidden, but you can use it over dry land for hunting wildfowl. England and Wales however, have adopted the policy of lead for everything, EXCEPT WILDFOWL ANYWHERE. What this basically means is, that you're hunting inland with lead, and a flight of duck suddenly appear, then you have to change ammo very quickly LOL. Stupidity in Government reigns everywhere. Most clay grounds now ban STEEL ammo, due to richochets, although they first adopted it due to enviromental concerns (Remember, there is a lot more lead fired at clay grounds than ever lands on a field or in the woods from hunting). Basically, it's just anotherattempt to put an extra nail into our hunting coffin.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jusdane wrote 2 years 1 week ago

Honestly, to me it doesn't make sense to ban lead shot for waterfowl (which is a great practice) if you don't also ban lead from making it to the water (as in lures, sinkers, etc). The lead is no different so how can the government decide only the lead used as "shot" is dangerous to the environment ... but look the other way when it comes to the lead used for fishing?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from dtbc333 wrote 2 years 1 week ago

I think restricting it's use in areas that do have a problem with Condors, Eagles or other birds being poisoned makes more sense than an all out ban. And by "problem" I mean proven and chronic. One dead bird is not a reason to ban anything.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RockySquirrel wrote 2 years 1 week ago

Sorry faculties not facilities. "Faculties rot out from under me"

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from JohnR wrote 2 years 1 week ago

It hasn't been proven that lead bullets in gut piles were the cause of lead poisoning in Condors, nor has it been proven that lead sinkers are killing Eagles.
I read about a subsequent study concerning the lead issue with Condors and that study citied a high concentration of environmental lead in the Condor's habitat.
So the next question is, if lead hunting ammunition is banned in Condor and Eagle habitat, and the birds are still dying from apparent lead poisoning, then what do you do (and please, no dumb comments like "well it would probably be coming from old bullets laying around").

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Recoil Rob wrote 2 years 1 week ago

It depends on how it's done. I'm not convinced that there is a real problem, many others aren't either. I think the cost of lead alternatives is a large factor in this. Many of us have large supplies of ammo that would be rendered unusable if legislation banning the use of lead were implemented. I still have boxes of lead waterfowl loads that sit obsolete in the basement.

However, if legislation were passed banning the manufacture of lead ammo I can see this working. Any ammo already made and in the distribution pipeline could be used.

Then the burden would fall on the ammo manufacturers to switch to non-tox by a certain date in the future. They would have to find a viable substitute and make it affordable in the next 5 years. Eventually the lead ammo already on hand would be used up and the changover would be seamless. I run out of my laid in supply of .22 RF, I must buy the new stuff.

There would be no costs to enforce a ban since any ammo would be legal to use, just that eventually lead ammo would be gone and the only thing to replace it would be non-tox. This allows us to use what we have stored up and take part in a change over.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from blackjac wrote 2 years 1 week ago

Wildlife issues aside-Lead in paint is no longer used due to kids eating the toxic paint chips--a good thing. Spoke with an "EPA" person some time ago about lead issues, he commented "if you are living in an older home with copper plumbing, you have lead in your body system caused by the lead solder use to join the plumbing"! Ever chew on a lead pencil when you were a kid??Watch out plumbers---PETA is watching you.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from crowman wrote 2 years 1 week ago

A " lead pencil " is graphite not lead. I'm a plumber and those old lines that were soldered with 50/50 solder gets a patina over the copper pipe as well as the solder joint where the water does not contact the pipe and doesn't leech lead into the water. I've melted and installed tons of lead in my day and have had blood work done to include any lead poisoning and I don't have even a detectible amount in me. Why because I made sure that I was using safe ways so that I didn't poison myself. As far as kids eating paint chips off the wall of your house your pretty much living in a sh** hole anyway and your doomed in life. All these people suing for a ban on leads goal is to make it so expensive or complicated to make people say the heck with it and stop participating in the sports we choose. If a few birds die of lead ingestion that's just the price we have to pay for people overrunning the earth. Nobody's crying about the 100's of millions of birds and animals we hunters kill every year during hunting seasons just the few in the scheme of things that might ingest lead. It's just like the 50,000 people that die in car crashes every year it's just a risk we take but we won't stop driving even if it saves all those people. As far as the Center for Biological Diversity GO FU** YOURSELF.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from crowman wrote 2 years 1 week ago

A " lead pencil " is graphite not lead. I'm a plumber and those old lines that were soldered with 50/50 solder gets a patina over the copper pipe as well as the solder joint where the water does not contact the pipe and doesn't leech lead into the water. I've melted and installed tons of lead in my day and have had blood work done to include any lead poisoning and I don't have even a detectible amount in me. Why because I made sure that I was using safe ways so that I didn't poison myself. As far as kids eating paint chips off the wall of your house your pretty much living in a sh** hole anyway and your doomed in life. All these people suing for a ban on leads goal is to make it so expensive or complicated to make people say the heck with it and stop participating in the sports we choose. If a few birds die of lead ingestion that's just the price we have to pay for people overrunning the earth. Nobody's crying about the 100's of millions of birds and animals we hunters kill every year during hunting seasons just the few in the scheme of things that might ingest lead. It's just like the 50,000 people that die in car crashes every year it's just a risk we take but we won't stop driving even if it saves all those people. As far as the Center for Biological Diversity GO FU** YOURSELF.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from HogBlog wrote 2 years 1 week ago

Rocky, the arguments against the lead ban run the gamut, from the higher price of lead-free ammo to the lack of availability. If the ban proposed by the CBD were passed, it would ban lead ammo for any purpose, not only for hunting. They claim they would make an exception for military and law enforcement, but that language does not exist in the ban proposal.

The bigger argument, though, is that there is absolutely no evidence that lead ammunition poses a threat to the environment or the wildlife in it. Does it poison individual animals? The evidence is compelling. But is it wiping out populations? No. The condor is a special case, but action is already being taken to preserve those birds (whether that action is right or wrong is still being debated... but the action was taken).

There is simply no reason for the EPA to ban lead ammo, even if the Toxic Substances Act allowed them to regulate it. If there is a problem, then that should fall to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, just as it did with the lead ban for waterfowl. The CBD is targeting the EPA for this because they know they'll find no traction with the USFWS... specifically because their argument has no scientific merit. And if there are local areas of special concern (e.g. the condor zone), they should be managed by state agencies, and not the feds... and that management should be based on science, not public opinion.

That said, I absolutely support hunters switching to lead free ammo voluntarily. I think it is good form to consider the possibility that your bullet fragments may kill an eagle, or even a danged old raven. That's not what you were shooting at, why do you want to take a chance on killing it?

But that choice isn't for everyone, and it isn't even possible for everyone. Log into Cabelas, for example, and try to find yourself some lead-free ammo for that .303, or price out a couple boxes for that .300 Weatherby or .257 Roberts. Better yet, try to find any of it at your local hunting and gun shop. If you're not a handloader, there's a whole swath of calibers and loadings that aren't available... and some of them will never be available in lead-free.

It's a complicated issue, made even more complicated because it has become totally politicized, with the HSUS on one extreme and the NRA on the other. Hunters are stuck in the middle trying to make the right choices, but the signal-to-noise ratio makes it kind of hard to hear the truth.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from HogBlog wrote 2 years 1 week ago

Jusdane, the CBD and other groups are also targeting lead fishing tackle. Their first effort at getting the EPA to ban this was rejected on a technicality, but similar efforts have consistently ben rebuffed on the basis that there is simply no evidence that lead fishing tackle presents a significant environmental threat.

The reason lead shot was banned for waterfowl, by the way, was largely driven by the fact that bald eagles (endangered at the time) were eating the lead-laced waterfowl carcasses and dying of lead poisoning. As with the condors, the lead-ban proponents used the Endangered Species Act for leverage.

Nevertheless, the difference in most lead fishing tackle and lead shotgun pellets is that the waterfowl are more likely to ingest the smaller pellets from the mud than to eat sinkers, jig heads, or lead-core fly line. Some birds are reported to have eaten these things and taken ill, particularly swans and loons, but in the big picture, these are limited and individual deaths and do not impact the overall health of the species. As with hunters choosing to use lead alternatives, a particularly conscientious fisherman would probably stop using lead, but there's no pressing, ecological reason for doing so.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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