Group Calls For National Lead Sinker, Ammo Ban

As WDFW again mulls banning lead tackle at 13 lakes supporting loons, a petition was filed with the EPA today to get lead out of fishing sinkers and hunting ammunition across the United States.

“Over the past several decades we’ve wisely taken steps to get lead out of our gasoline, paint, water pipes and other sources that are dangerous to people. Now it’s time to get the lead out of hunting and fishing sports to save wildlife from needless poisoning,” said Jeff Miller of the Center for Biological Diversity in a press release, one of five signers of the petition that pins its hopes on the Toxic Substances Control Act.

Lead shot has been banned for waterfowl hunting since the early 1990s (though is still found in the bellies of dead swans and other geese and ducks in Washington’s Skagit Valley), but the New York Times reports that Larry Keane, vice president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, terms the petition “fundamentally flawed as a matter of science.”

The Associated Press reports that NSSF also calls it “anti-hunting attack on traditional ammunition.”

An online article by Northwest Sportsman gun columnist Dave Workman finds further-reaching effects of lead bans, including “not only much higher ammunition prices, but a dramatic loss of revenue for the Department of Fish & Wildlife, because declining ammunition and tackle sales translates to a decline in federal excise tax revenues, which in turn will result in a decline in federal monies apportioned to this and other states through the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson federal wildlife and fisheries restoration programs.”

The ban is supported by California hunter Anthony Prieto of Project Gutpile, who calls compliance with his state’s nonlead ammo regulations to protect condors “simple.”

“I still get to hunt, there is no toxic impact on wildlife or my health, and copper bullets shoot better,” he said in the press release.

However, it may be difficult for some hunters to get behind the new petition considering the fact that in late July, the Center called on the Federal government to come up with gray wolf recovery plans throughout the country.

Other petitioners include American Bird Conservancy, Association of Avian Veterinarians and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.

Sport use of lead has been an issue in Washington in recent months, vigorously debated online this past winter. That’s when WDFW’s Fish & Wildlife Commission passed on approving rules prohibiting the use of lead weights weighing less than half an ounce or lead jigs measuring less than 1.5 inches to protect loons on 10 lakes in North-central and Northeast Washington and three in Western Washington.

They called for more study to be done, so the agency formed an 11-member advisory committee and held two public meetings this summer.

The AP reports that EPA has 90 days to deny or grant the nationwide petition.

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