USA Brass Raided By Federal Investigators

Investigators from the Environmental Protection Agency and the FBI raided Bozeman, Montana-based USA Brass yesterday. According to various news reports, they are investigating environmental violations. USA Brass sells and processes once-fired brass.

From the Bozeman Daily Chronicle:

Jeff Martinez, special agent in charge of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Criminal Investigation Division in Denver, confirmed that agents were searching the business after reports of violations of environmental laws.

However, Martinez would not comment on specifics of the investigation.

USA Brass had been cited in 2013 by OSHA for violations related to exposure to lead, lack of training, and other issues. They could face fines of up to $45,000 for these violations. In October, 2013, the Gallatin County Health Department reported that 22 current and former employees of USA Brass showed elevated levels of lead in their blood.

Video of the raid from NBC Montana and KBZK Channel 7 Bozeman can be seen here and here respectively.

I just don’t see this ending well given the prior OSHA citations and the report from the Gallatin County Health Department. If I was a conspiracy theorist – and I’m not – I might say this was related to the Obama Administration’s war on guns and gun owners. Only time will tell.

Two New Bills Introduced In Congress; One Good, One Bad

Two more pieces of Federal legislation dealing with firearms were introduced in the House of Representatives on Friday.

The first bill was introduced by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and seeks to remove the budget restriction that prohibits the Center for Disease Control from doing “research” that promotes gun control. It has 31 co-sponsors all of whom are Democrats.

HR 321 – Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)
Rep Blumenauer, Earl [D-OR]
Rep Capuano, Michael E. [D-MA]
Rep Chu, Judy [D-CA]
Rep Cicilline, David N. [D-RI]
Rep Doyle, Michael F. [D-PA]
Rep Ellison, Keith [D-MN]
Rep Grijalva, Raul M. [D-AZ]
Rep Himes, James A. [D-CT]
Rep Holt, Rush [D-NJ]
Rep Jackson Lee, Sheila [D-TX]
Rep Johnson, Eddie Bernice [D-TX]
Rep Lee, Barbara [D-CA]
Rep Levin, Sander M. [D-MI]
Rep Lofgren, Zoe [D-CA]
Rep Markey, Edward J. [D-MA]
Rep Matsui, Doris O. [D-CA]
Rep McCollum, Betty [D-MN]
Rep Moore, Gwen [D-WI]
Rep Moran, James P. [D-VA]
Rep Norton, Eleanor Holmes [D-DC]
Rep Pingree, Chellie [D-ME]
Rep Quigley, Mike [D-IL]
Rep Rangel, Charles B. [D-NY]
Rep Schakowsky, Janice D. [D-IL]
Rep Schiff, Adam B. [D-CA]
Rep Schwartz, Allyson Y. [D-PA]
Rep Shea-Porter, Carol [D-NH]
Rep Slaughter, Louise McIntosh [D-NY]
Rep Speier, Jackie [D-CA]
Rep Van Hollen, Chris [D-MD]
Rep Wasserman Schultz, Debbie [D-FL]
To amend the Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2013 (Public Law 112-175) to permit research on firearms safety and gun violence.
Referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee

The second bill was introduced by Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL). It would reinforce and clarify that the Environmental Protection Agency has no authority to regulate lead bullets, ammo, or fishing tackle under the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976. It has 67 co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle.

HR 322 – Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL)
Rep Alexander, Rodney [R-LA]
Rep Bachus, Spencer [R-AL]
Rep Bishop, Rob [R-UT]
Rep Black, Diane [R-TN]
Rep Blackburn, Marsha [R-TN]
Rep Bonner, Jo [R-AL]
Rep Boustany, Charles W., Jr. [R-LA]
Rep Broun, Paul C. [R-GA]
Rep Cassidy, Bill [R-LA]
Rep Chabot, Steve [R-OH]
Rep Coffman, Mike [R-CO]
Rep Conaway, K. Michael [R-TX]
Rep Crawford, Eric A. “Rick” [R-AR]
Rep DesJarlais, Scott [R-TN]
Rep Duncan, Jeff [R-SC]
Rep Fincher, Stephen Lee [R-TN]
Rep Franks, Trent [R-AZ]
Rep Graves, Sam [R-MO]
Rep Griffin, Tim [R-AR]
Rep Hanna, Richard L. [R-NY]
Rep Hartzler, Vicky [R-MO]
Rep Hastings, Doc [R-WA]
Rep Huelskamp, Tim [R-KS]
Rep Huizenga, Bill [R-MI]
Rep Hunter, Duncan D. [R-CA]
Rep Jones, Walter B., Jr. [R-NC]
Rep Jordan, Jim [R-OH]
Rep King, Steve [R-IA]
Rep Kinzinger, Adam [R-IL]
Rep Kline, John [R-MN]
Rep Latta, Robert E. [R-OH]
Rep Luetkemeyer, Blaine [R-MO]
Rep Lummis, Cynthia M. [R-WY]
Rep Matheson, Jim [D-UT]
Rep McIntyre, Mike [D-NC]
Rep Michaud, Michael H. [D-ME]
Rep Miller, Gary G. [R-CA]
Rep Nugent, Richard B. [R-FL]
Rep Nunnelee, Alan [R-MS]
Rep Olson, Pete [R-TX]
Rep Palazzo, Steven M. [R-MS]
Rep Pearce, Stevan [R-NM]
Rep Peterson, Collin C. [D-MN]
Rep Pitts, Joseph R. [R-PA]
Rep Pompeo, Mike [R-KS]
Rep Roe, David P. [R-TN]
Rep Rogers, Harold [R-KY]
Rep Rogers, Mike D. [R-AL]
Rep Ross, Dennis A. [R-FL]
Rep Scott, Austin [R-GA]
Rep Sessions, Pete [R-TX]
Rep Shuster, Bill [R-PA]
Rep Simpson, Michael K. [R-ID]
Rep Smith, Adrian [R-NE]
Rep Southerland, Steve II [R-FL]
Rep Stivers, Steve [R-OH]
Rep Stutzman, Marlin A. [R-IN]
Rep Terry, Lee [R-NE]
Rep Thompson, Bennie G. [D-MS]
Rep Thompson, Glenn [R-PA]
Rep Thornberry, Mac [R-TX]
Rep Tipton, Scott R. [R-CO]
Rep Walden, Greg [R-OR]
Rep Westmoreland, Lynn A. [R-GA]
Rep Wittman, Robert J. [R-VA]
Rep Womack, Steve [R-AR]
Rep Young, Don [R-AK]
To amend the Toxic Substances Control Act to clarify the jurisdiction of the Environmental Protection Agency with respect to certain sporting good articles, and to exempt those articles from a definition under that Act.
Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce

EPA Says No Again To Petition To Ban Lead Based Ammo

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.

The EPA Denies a Petition to Restrict Lead Tackle

The gun prohibitionists and anti-hunting/fishing groups are grasping for anything they can use to stop the lawful exercise of shooting, hunting, and fishing. In this release from the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, we see that the Center for Biological Diversity was stopped in their attempt to regulate fishing tackle due to lead. Unfortunately, I doubt they will stop their attempts just because the EPA told them to take a hike.

Science has prevailed. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has denied a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD)—an anti-sportsmen group—that would have precipitated significant restrictions on lead fishing tackle all over the United States. The CBD wanted the EPA to use the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to heavily regulate anglers from using tackle they have long used even though science doesn’t support such a measure. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) has been, and will continue to, fight such unscientific lead bans and restrictions at the state and federal level.

In a letter to the CBD on February 14, 2012 the EPA wrote:

After careful review, EPA has determined that, while the petition does provide evidence of exposure and a risk to waterfowl in some areas of the United States, it does not provide a basis for finding that the risk presented is an unreasonable risk for which federal action under section 6(a) of TSCA is necessary to adequately protect against such risks. Accordingly, EPA is denying your request to initiate a proceeding for the issuance of a rulemaking under Section 6(a) of TSCA to adequately protect against risks posed by fishing tackle containing lead of various sizes and uses that are ingested by wildlife…. Your petition does not demonstrate why federal action is necessary given the mix of regulatory and education actions state agencies and the Federal Government already are taking to address the impact of lead fishing tackle on local environments.”

When the CBD began its quest for this unwarranted restriction on fishing tackle in 2010, the CSF responded by working with the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) in Washington, D.C., and with the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses (NASC), which serves as the umbrella organization for launching and working with state legislative sportsmen’s caucuses now active in 39 state legislatures, to demand such regulations should be based on sound science and under state jurisdictions. The Executive Council for the NASC, and several state legislative sportsmen’s caucuses, wrote letters to
EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson asking that she deny the CBD petition. Meanwhile, the CSF rallied legislators in the CSC and in caucuses around the country to demand that any such ban be based on real scientific evidence; after all, the cost to anglers would be real if affordable tackle is taken off the shelves. The EPA subsequently denied the CBD’s first petition.

However, the CBD filed a new petition with the EPA in November of 2011. This petition asked the EPA to evaluate the unreasonable risk of injury from lead fishing tackle, and to begin proceedings for rule making under Section 6 of TSCA. The CSF stayed engaged at all levels of government. The NASC sent letters from various state sportsmen’s caucuses, including Alaska, Arkansas, Indiana, Oregon and South Carolina, to point out that state natural resource agencies are in a better position to respond to any localized concerns and that such a restriction is not biologically justified as no studies have shown that fishing tackle is impacting loon or other waterfowl populations.

Also, on April 14, 2011, the Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Sports Protection Act (S. 838 and H.R. 1558) was introduced into both chambers of Congress by the chairs of the CSC—Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and John Thune (R-SD) and Representatives Jeff Miller (R-FL) and Mike Ross (D-AR). This legislation is another way the CSF has been working to prevent a federal ban on lead in recreational fishing tackle. It would clarify the TSCA exemption for ammunition and establish a similar exemption for fishing tackle. The Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Sports Protection Act would put an end to attempts to over-regulate the recreational fishing and hunting industries and protect the rights of anglers and hunters who choose to sustainably enjoy their sports.

Jeff Crane, president of the CSF, says, “Sportsmen and wildlife won a big battle. Though we doubt the Center for Biological Diversity will stop this ideological attack on fishing, the EPA has decided against an unscientific restriction of lead fishing tackle. The state legislative sportsmen’s caucuses, under the umbrella of the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses, have once again represented their angling constituents admirably.”

If the EPA agreed to this ban it would have been an unjustified fishing restriction at the federal level. Wildlife management in the United States has been a model to the rest of the world because we have successfully managed wildlife at the population level. There is no evidence that lead fishing tackle is causing negative population-level impacts, therefore forcing anglers to replace their lead tackle with costly alternatives would be an unnecessary burden to America’s fishermen and an impediment to fishing participation.

Other sportsmen’s groups, most notably the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), have also been instrumental in fighting back these unnecessary restrictions on America’s anglers right to fish. Click here for more on the conservation communities’ position on lead.

HR 1558 & S 838 – Changes In Toxic Substances Act Regarding Lead

Two new bills have been introduced in Congress that would clarify the exemptions for ammunition contained in the Toxic Substances Control Act. These bills, if passed, would moot the Center for Biological Diversity’s lawsuit that is attempting to force the EPA to ban lead based ammunition and lead in fishing tackle.

HR 1558, the Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Sports Protection Act of 2011, was introduced by Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL) and Rep. Mike Ross (D-AR). It currently has 38 co-sponsors and the bipartisan support of the Congressional Sportsman’s Caucus. Rep. Ross had this to say about the bill.

“It’s always important to find a commonsense balance between protecting the rights of hunters, anglers and outdoorsmen and protecting our environment and wildlife habitats for future generations,” said Congressman Ross. “There is no credible scientific evidence that demonstrates traditional ammunition and fishing tackle pose any threat to human health or wildlife populations and this legislation is needed to permanently address this issue once and for all. I’m pleased to join this bipartisan effort and to work to stop the TSCA petition, which is the most recent in a long string of attacks on our cherished hunting and fishing heritage.”

The Senate version of the Hunting, Fishing, and Recreational Shooting Sports Protection Act of 2011, S. 838 was introduced by Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) and Sen. John Thune (R-SD). It has three co-sponsors.

Both bills have the strong backing of the NSSF and were introduced right after they had the Industry Fly-In.

“Wildlife management is the proper jurisdiction of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the 50 state wildlife agencies,” said NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane. “But no one should be misled about what’s truly at stake here. A ban on traditional ammunition will not only affect hunters and sportsmen, but law enforcement, military, self-defense and target shooters who may never go afield. This is precisely why all Americans, not just gun owners, have a vested interest in the passage of the Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Sports Protection Act.”

The higher costs associated with alternative ammunition will price everyday consumers out of the market. This is evidenced by the low 1 percent market share of alternative ammunition. This would lead to fewer hunters taking to the field and shooting ranges across the United States being needlessly closed.

“The economic growth of America’s firearms and ammunition industry continues to be a bright spot in our country’s still-ailing economy,” continued Keane. “Passing this important legislation will help to ensure that our industry, which is responsible for more than 183,000 well-paying jobs and has an economic impact of more than $27.8 billion annually, continues to shine.”

As I reported last week, Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) also has a bill, HR 1445, that removes the EPA’s authority to regulate lead in ammunition and fishing tackle. The text of HR 1558 and S 838 are not yet available so I’ll reserve judgment on which will be the more effective until I’ve had a chance to read both bills.

NSSF to Intervene in Lawsuit Challenging EPA on Traditional Ammunition

From the National Shooting Sports Foundation on the Center for Biological Diversity’s lawsuit against the EPA challenging lead ammunition:

NEWTOWN, Conn.—In response to a lawsuit filed today challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s denial of a petition to ban traditional ammunition containing lead core components, the National Shooting Sports Foundation will file a motion to intervene. This action allows NSSF to protect industry’s interests in the case and ensure that the will of Congress is adhered to.

The suit was brought by the Center for Biological Diversity, which earlier this year had petitioned EPA to ban traditional ammunition as well as fishing tackle containing lead. CBD claims wild birds are being harmed through the ingestion of spent ammunition fragments, though NSSF contends that no scientific evidence shows that wildlife populations are being affected.

In August after considering the CBD’s petition, EPA denied the request, saying it did not have the legal authority to regulate the production and distribution of traditional ammunition under the Toxic Substance Control Act of 1976. Congress expressly exempted ammunition from being regulated by this law. Some weeks after the agency’s decision on traditional ammunition, EPA also denied the other half of CBD’s request to ban fishing tackle. This one-two punch no doubt prompted CBD to file its lawsuit.

“We knew that this fight was far from over even after we gained that early victory,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel. “The CBD petition and now this lawsuit are clearly attacks on the right of hunters to choose the ammunition that best suits their hunting and target shooting needs, and they are attacks on hunting as well.”

Launching a strong grassroots campaign in response to the CBD petition, NSSF mobilized the sporting and gun-owning community to make its support for traditional ammunition clear to the EPA and its administrator, Lisa P. Jackson, via e-mailed comments and by contacting their lawmakers.

NSSF continues to stress the following in the debate over traditional ammunition:

  • There is no scientific evidence that the use of traditional ammunition is having an adverse impact on wildlife populations.
  • Wildlife management is the proper jurisdiction of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the 50 state wildlife agencies.
  • A 2008 study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on blood lead levels of North Dakota hunters confirmed that consuming game harvested with traditional ammunition does not pose a human health risk.
  • A ban on traditional ammunition would have a negative impact on wildlife conservation. The federal excise tax that manufacturers pay on the sale of the ammunition (11 percent) is a primary source of wildlife conservation funding. The bald eagle’s recovery, considered to be a great conservation success story, was made possible and funded by hunters using traditional ammunition – the very ammunition organizations like the CBD are now demonizing.
  • Recent statistics from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service show that from 1981 to 2006 the number of breeding pairs of bald eagles in the United States increased 724 percent. And much like the bald eagle, raptor populations throughout the United States are soaring.

The Grey Lady Speaks on the Lead Ammo Ban

On Friday, I warned that the environmental groups, American Bird Conservancy and the Center for Biological Diversity, were not giving up on their attempts to ban lead based ammunition. With predictable timing and their usual logic, the New York Times editorial page has weighed in on the issue. As SayUncle correctly refers to it, an idiotorial.

They buy the arguments of the environmental lobby without question:

The N.R.A. should consult the hunters among its members. They know that getting lead out of the environment is essential. Lead is as toxic in nature as it is in the form of lead paint in houses. Scientists have established a clear link between lead from ammunition and the poisoning of some 75 species of birds — especially waterfowl and scavengers like condors, eagles and ravens.

As to consulting hunters, I suggest that the NY Times consult hunters instead. They would find that most feel that lead shot and lead bullets let them kill game more cleanly. Moreover, I doubt that many target shooters could afford to shoot Barnes copper-based bullets on a regular basis. It is a great bullet but with the world price of copper so high, it isn’t cheap.

The Times concludes with this:

We urge the E.P.A. to reconsider this hasty decision. The agency has the authority it needs to regulate the lead in ammunition as a toxic substance, even though it isn’t authorized to regulate the manufacture of ammunition itself. (It has said it will consider a ban on lead fishing sinkers, which would be welcome, but that is not going nearly far enough.) A bullet fired from a hunter’s gun should kill only once, not go on killing again and again.

The EPA may or may not have the authority to regulate the lead in ammo. It is borderline legally and I predict that regardless of which side ultimately wins, it will end up in court. Frankly, it is time for Congress to clarify that ammunition and its components are outside of the EPA’s oversight.

They Just Won’t Go Away

The Shooting Wire reported this morning the Center for Biogical Diversity, the American Bird Conservancy, and other groups that brought the petition to the EPA seeking to ban lead in firearms ammunition are not giving up. The groups plan to challenge the ruling by the EPA that lead in ammunition is beyond their authority. They have submitted a Freedom of Information Act Request requesting all documents related to the decision.

In a press release sent out by CBD , they say:

“The Environmental Protection Agency’s denial was based on false assumptions and an inexplicable misreading of so-called exemptions in the Act,” said Adam Keats, senior counsel for the Center for Biological Diversity. “Given the EPA’s clear authority and duty under the Toxic Substances Control Act to regulate toxic lead in ammunition to end unnecessary lead poisoning of wildlife and reduce human health risk, it appears that their decision to dodge the issue was politically motivated.”

Later in the press release, they add:

“We are going to get to the bottom of the politics behind the EPA decision — we are not going to let the agency simply walk away from the preventable poisoning of birds and other wildlife,” said Jeff Miller, conservation advocate with the Center. “We remain committed to making sure toxic lead is removed from the environment, and we’re continuing our campaign to see that through.”

The American Bird Conservancy is similarly upset. In their press release, they say the EPA made a wrong decision and that electoral politics were involved. According to Darin Schroeder, their VP for “conservation advocacy”:

The EPA erred, either purposely or by not reading the applicable laws we cited in our extensive, well-researched petition, in their rush to dismiss the hunting ammunition portion of our complaint before the November elections.

They want a meeting with Steve Owens, the EPA Assistant Administrator, to get answers. So far he has blown them off and they are mad.

it is the obligation of the Administration to accept its legal responsibility and affirmatively act on this issue within 90 days time. Without question, we are looking at all options for recourse

The late political scientist Harold Lasswell long ago defined politics as who gets what, when, and how. These so-called environmental groups knew they couldn’t ban hunting or lead ammunition if they went the legislative route. When their backdoor attempt to do the same was ultimately stopped (so far), then, and only then, did they begin to cry “politics”.

It was politics from the moment they filed their petition and they know it. If some Obama political appointee at EPA stopped this because he knew it would make a bad November even worse for the Democrats, tough. If your erstwhile allies are telling you to knock it off, you might want to listen. However, when it comes to true believers, you just can’t tell them no and have them listen.