Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke wasted little time repealing a ban on lead ammunition use in wildlife refuges. According to Timothy Cama of The Hill, Zinke repealed the ban on his first day in office.
There is a new sheriff in town, and he is wasting no time in rolling back regulations from the prior administration. On the first day of Secretary Zinke's term, he repealed a ban on lead ammunition. Former Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe had signed the original ban 43 days prior. The act banned the use of all lead ammunition, as well as lead fishing tackle on all lands that allow hunting or fishing governed by Fish and Wildlife Services.
The ban was enacted to protect animals and the environment from lead poisoning, due to discarded lead left in the fields, forests, and waterways.
According to Secretary Zinke:
"After reviewing the order and the process by which it was promulgated, I have determined that the order is not mandated by any existing statutory or regulatory requirement and was issued without significant communication, consultation or coordination with affected stakeholders."
Why Overturn the Ban?
Opponents of the ban site the increased cost of using non-lead bullets. There are many non-lead options to choose from, and some can cost anywhere from 50% -100% more. The same holds true for fishing weights and sinkers. 1/4 oz. lead worm weights cost $4.49 for a pack of 15 at Bass Pro Shops. Whereas the same size in tungsten will set you back $7.29 for a three pack.
The National Rifle Association strongly opposed the ban on lead ammunition. The NRA's Chris Cox said of the ban, "This was a reckless, unilateral overreach that would have devastated the sportsmen's community." In addition, Cox accuses the Obama administration for not backing up the ban with solid, scientific data. The timing of the original ban may support Cox's claim. The administration enacted the ban on President Obama's last full day in office.
By repealing the ban on lead ammunition, Secretary Zinke is upholding a truly American institution. Capitalism. Sure there are benefits to using non-lead ammunition and tackle, but let the free market decide that. Furthermore, we as Americans, let alone sportsmen, do not want to be told by a bureaucrat in DC what bullet they can use to hunt sheep in Wyoming. Consequently, it was a productive first day on the job for Secretary Zinke. If day one is any indication, this administration looks to put the sportsman first.