The Environmental Protection Agency has again turned down a petition to ban lead based ammunition. The petition came from the Center for Biological Diversity and a number of other “green” groups including the nonsensical Project Gutpile.
I cannot find an official letter or release from the EPA but have to rely on a release from the Center for Biological Diversity. It appears that they will sue again in Federal court which is what they did the first time they were sent packing by the EPA.
WASHINGTON— 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.”
In 2010 the EPA refused to review a petition by conservation and hunting groups asking for a ban on lead bullets, shotgun pellets and fishing tackle under the Toxic Substances Control Act, the federal law that regulates toxic substances. So last month, more than 100 groups, representing conservationists, birders, hunters, zoologists, scientists, American Indians, wildlife rehabilitators and veterinarians, submitted a new petition seeking federal rules requiring use of nontoxic bullets and shot for hunting and shooting sports. The EPA today responded in a letter to the petitioners that it will not review an “identical petition” and repeated the false (sic) claim that it cannot regulate lead ammunition.
The Toxic Substances Control Act allows the agency to regulate any chemical substance for a particular use; the lead used in shot and bullets is defined as a toxic “chemical substance” under the Act.
The EPA claims lead bullets and shot fall under an exception that exempts regulation of items subject to an Internal Revenue Service section 4181 excise tax imposed on sales of shotgun shells and bullet cartridges; yet the IRS itself has ruled that section 4181 “does not apply to sales of separate parts of ammunition such as cartridge cases, primers, bullets, and powder.” Furthermore, a House report on the legislative history and intent of the Act states it “does not exclude from regulation under the bill chemical components of ammunition which could be hazardous because of their chemical properties.”
“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.”
On the website for the Center for Biologicial Diversity, they are asking people to sign a letter “to stop the NRA’s lead poisoning legislation.” Of course it is the “evil NRA” who wants to kill the California condors, blah, blah, blah. If I remember correctly, the impetus behind the Sportsman’s Heritage Act of 2012 is actually the NSSF. However, the “evil NSSF” doesn’t have quite the same ring to their lefty followers as does “evil NRA”.
UPDATE: The National Shooting Sports Foundation has posted a release on the EPA’s denial of yet another petition from CBD and Project Gutpile. The denial letter from the EPA can be found here.
NEWTOWN, Conn. — The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Monday denied yet another frivolous petition by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) — an established anti-hunting group — calling for a ban on the traditional ammunition (containing lead-core components) for hunting and shooting.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry, applauds the EPA’s latest decision and called upon Congress to immediately pass the Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Sports Protection Act (S.838/H.R.1558). In the House of Representatives, the bill is also included in the Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012 (H.R. 4089), an important piece of legislation that combines three other legislative priorities for sportsmen. The bill (S.838/H.R.1558) amends the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to clarify that the Congress has excluded traditional ammunition from regulation by the EPA. The legislation is supported by more than 35 national conservation and sportsmen’s groups. The bill is even supported by the Fraternal Order of Police because a ban on traditional ammunition would apply to law enforcement and the U.S. military.
NSSF opposed the petition, which was filed by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and other like-minded groups. This was the second attempt by the CBD to ban traditional ammunition since it first petitioned the EPA in August of 2010. In rejecting the CBD’s latest petition the EPA agreed with NSSF, telling the CBD that it did not have jurisdiction under TSCA to regulate ammunition. The CBD’s petition purported to narrow the scope of the ban sought, but the EPA concluded that this change was a “distinction without a substantive difference.” The EPA went on to say the new petition “contains no new information.”
The CBD’s serial petitions erroneously claim that the use of traditional ammunition by hunters poses a danger to human health and wildlife, in particular raptor populations such as bald eagles. The truth is that wildlife populations, including raptor and bald eagle populations, are soaring. The myth of a human health risk has been thoroughly debunked by a 2008 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that found the health of hunters consuming game harvested with traditional ammunition was not at risk.
The excise taxes raised from hunters’ purchases of the very ammunition the CBD tries to demonize is a primary source of wildlife conservation in the United States. Restricting or banning traditional ammunition absent sound science will hurt wildlife conservation. “Hunters have done more for wildlife than the CBD ever will,” said NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane. “These relentless and unfounded attacks against traditional ammunition by agenda-driven groups like the CBD are exactly why Congress must take immediate action and pass the Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012.”
Keane is referencing the federal excise tax that manufacturers pay on the sale of the ammunition (11 percent), which is dedicated to the Wildlife Restoration Trust Fund administered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.