In response to a lawsuit filed recently challenging the Environmental Protection Agency's denial of a petition to ban traditional ammunition containing lead core components, the National Shooting Sports Foundation confirmed it will file a motion to intervene.
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.