Lead Gear, Bullet Exemption Bill Introduced In Congress

A pair of Inland Northwest Congressmen are among the more than 40 lawmakers cosponsoring a pair of bills in Congress that would protect fishing and hunting gear from environmental lawsuits.

The Hunting, Fishing, and Recreational Shooting Protection Act, introduced in mid-April, would modify the Toxic Substances Control Act to exempt bullets, shot, weights, lures and hooks, among other items, from EPA regulation.

Cathy McMorris-Rodgers, a Spokane Republican, joined 37 other House Reps in cosponsoring HR 1558 while Montana Senator Jon Tester, a Democrat, was one of four cosponsors of S 838 in the upper chamber.

The bill drop follows an otherwise little-noticed article in the online scientific journal PLoS ONE published earlier this month and which indicates that lead exposure spiked among California turkey vultures in a study area during and immediately after deer hunting season, and the birds’ blood levels were also elevated in areas with increased pig hunting activity.

In late 2007, the Golden State banned the use of lead bullets to protect condors in large parts of the San Joaquin Valley and Central Coast, but hunters are still able to chase deer with non-lead projectiles. They killed a minimum of 1,162 in six of seven affected condor-zone units in 2010, and as many as 1,780, according to initial estimates from the California Department of Fish & Game.

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