NSSF Allowed Intervenor Status

From the National Shooting Sports Foundation:

The United States District Court for the District of Columbia has granted NSSF’s motion to intervene in a suit brought by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and several anti-hunting groups against the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The CBD’s underlying suit against the EPA seeks to have the court overturn the agency’s denial of a CBD petition filed in August of 2010 to have the EPA under the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) issue regulations to ban the manufacture, sale and use of traditional ammunition containing lead components, as well as fishing tackle made with lead components. The EPA properly denied the petition to ban traditional ammunition because Congress expressly exempted ammunition from regulation by the EPA. Later, the EPA also denied the petition as to fishing tackle because the CBD failed to demonstrate a scientific basis for the EPA to act.

“We are pleased with the court’s ruling because it will allow NSSF to ensure that the will of Congress is adhered to and the CBD does not succeed in its efforts to side step Congress and impose its anti-hunting agenda through the judicial system,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel.

In granting NSSF’s motion to intervene in the case the court acknowledged that the EPA could not adequately represent the business interests of NSSF’s members. The court also rejected the CBD’s efforts, in opposing the NSSF motion, to inappropriately limit NSSF participation in the case.

This is the case where Project Gutpile is one of the plaintiffs. Project Gutpile is a “hunter’s organization” composed of four members.

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.