The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today denied a petition calling
for a ban on the manufacture and use of lead based fishing gear.
The Center for Biological Diversity, the American Bird Conservancy, the
Association of Avian Veteranarians, Project Gutpile and Public Employees for
Environmental Responsibility filed the petition on August 3 to ban the
production and sale of lead based ammunition and fishing tackle under the Toxic
Substance Control Act (TSCA) of 1976.
EPA sent a letter to the petitioners today stating that they failed to demonstrate that the rule is necessary to protect
against an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment. The letter
also states that the increasing number of limitations on the use of lead fishing
gear on some federal and state lands, as well as various education and outreach
activities, call into question whether a national ban on lead in fishing gear
would be the least burdensome, adequately protective approach to address the
concern, as called for under TSCA. EPA’s letter also notes that there are
non-lead alternatives currently in the marketplace.
On August 27, EPA denied the portion of the petition relating to lead in
ammunition because the agency does not have the legal authority to regulate this
type of product under TSCA.
Seventy-eight members of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) in
September signed a letter sent to Lisa Jackson, Administrator of the EPA, urging the agency to dismiss the petition. The CSC members state in the
letter, â€œThere are 60 million recreational anglers in America that contribute
$125 billion to our economy annually, and penalizing these men, women and
children that are the best stewards of our environment, as well as the financial
backbone to fish and wildlife conservation in our country, would be a terrible
and unnecessary injustice.â€
The CSC letter came on the heels of a similar letter to Administrator Jackson
requesting dismissal of the petition, sent on September 15, from the
Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) and partner members of the American
Wildlife Conservation Partners (AWCP) and sportfishing communities.
The National Assebly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses (NASC) Executive Council also urged
EPA to dismiss the petition in a letter to Administrator Jackson.
CSC member and former Chairwoman, Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas,
introduced S.3850 on September 28 to protect lead based traditional ammunition
and fishing tackle from a potential ban by the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA). This legislation would clarify that the components used in
manufacturing shells, cartridges and fishing tackle are exempt from EPA
regulation under TSCA.
The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA), representing the 50
state fish and wildlife agencies, also sent a letter the EPA in September,
urging them to dismiss the petition.
State fish and wildlife agencies are authorized to manage most of a state’s
fish and wildlife, and therefore, closely monitor and address any local concerns
about lead based fishing tackle and any potential impacts on local species. A
federal ban on lead fishing tackle is not only unnecessary, but intrudes upon
these traditional state agencies jurisdiction.
No scientific basis has been established to warrant any such ban on
traditional fishing equipment. A similar proposal to ban lead fishing tackle was
dismissed by the EPA in the mid-1990s because there was insufficient data to
support such a ban at that time.
Here is the link to the EPA’s Website about the petition denial and other information related to the proposed lead tackle ban.