An order for a lead ammo ban on federal land came down from the Obama Administration on its last full day in power.
As former President Barack Obama quietly slipped away from his Presidency, an order came down from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services to Ban Lead Ammo from Federal lands.
Hunting and Fishing organizations are crying foul, as the ban is vague and offers no justification. The order seemed to have come out of blue with no warning.
Normally, when rules are changed in this manner, the feds will work with wildlife, hunting and fishing groups to shape policy. As an example, the federal government went through an exhaustive process to change traditional ammunition in 2008.
They didn’t do that in this case, and it has quite a few sportsmen’s groups pissed off.
From the National Shooting Sports Foundation:
“This directive was published without dialogue with industry, sportsmen and conservationists,” said Lawrence Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel. “The next director should immediately rescind this, and instead create policy based upon scientific evidence of population impacts with regard to the use of traditional ammunition.”
And from the American Sportfishing Association:
“In the limited instances where lead fishing tackle is demonstrated to harm local wildlife populations, the sportfishing industry supports actions to minimize or eliminate these impacts,” said Scott Gudes, ASA vice president of government affairs.
“A sound, science-driven and durable policy could have been crafted with input from industry and the broader recreational fishing community. We are hopeful that new leadership at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will repeal this Director’s Order and develop public policy in a way that is open, inclusive and based on science.”
Certainly people understand the risk of lead. There are already restrictions on lead with some species such as waterfowl.
Scientific evidence supports restrictions in specific areas of the country where wildlife is threatened. There are lakes and fisheries that already ban lead weights where it makes sense.
In this case, the lead ammo ban is a bit widespread and unnecessary. And while it’s true that lead can be replaced by copper and steel, there can be negatives, such as additional cost and reduced effectiveness.
The good news is that the Trump administration has already shown itself to be friendly to outdoorsmen, as seen with the nomination of Neil Gorsuch and changes to other policy related to the environment.
There’s a good chance they’ll take a look at this absurdity of this ruling and reverse it.