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EPA Denies Petition Seeking Ban on Lead in Fishing

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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, “There 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.† 

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.