In a move that shocked absolutely no one, three groups have filed suit against the Environmental Protection Agency after the EPA denied the groups’ petition to ban lead in fishing tackle and ammunition.
From this story in the Los Angeles Times:
_Three environmental groups sued the Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday to force it to prevent lead poisoning of wildlife from spent ammunition and lost fishing tackle. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court by the Center for Biological Diversity, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility and the hunters group Project Gutpile. It comes after the EPA denied their petition to ban lead ammunition and lead fishing tackle, which the groups say kills 10 million to 20 million birds and other animals a year by lead poisoning. “The EPA has the ability to protect America’s wildlife from ongoing preventable lead poisoning, but continues to shirk its responsibility,” said Jeff Miller, conservation advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity.
_The lawsuit asks a judge to order the EPA to develop rules to prevent wildlife poisoning from spent lead ammunition and fishing tackle. In August, the EPA denied the ammunition part of the petition, saying it didn’t have authority under the Toxic Substances Control Act. A few weeks ago, it rejected the fishing tackle portion, saying the petition didn’t demonstrate a ban was necessary to protect against unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment, as required by the law. In the lawsuit, the groups say that EPA erred when it said it didn’t have the authority to ban lead ammunition. They argued that the legislative history of the Toxic Substances Control Act makes it clear that components of ammunition ˜ shots and bullets ˜ may be regulated as chemical substances. The groups’ original petition cited nearly 500 peer-reviewed scientific articles that they said document the toxic effects of lead on wildlife, and the lawsuit argues that large amounts of lead continue to be deposited into the environment. According to the lawsuit, animals often mistake lead shotgun pellets and fishing tackle for food, grit or bone fragments, and avian scavengers are particularly vulnerable to lead in carcasses, gut piles and wounded prey species.
Gordon Robertson, vice president of the American Sportfishing Association, said the EPA got the decision right the first time. “We fundamentally think this is the jurisdiction of state fish and wildlife agencies to address these types of problems where they may exist,” he said. “The data shows this is not a population problem as it relates to the use of lead in fishing gear.” In a statement Tuesday, the EPA said its “decisions were based on a careful analysis of the facts and the law.”_