The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Friday denied a petition calling for a ban on the production and distribution of lead hunting ammunition. EPA sent a letter to the petitioners explaining the rejection.
Steve Owens, EPA assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, issued the following statement on the agency’s decision:
EPA today denied a petition submitted by several outside groups for the agency to implement a ban on the production and distribution of lead hunting ammunition. EPA reached this decision because the agency does not have the legal authority to regulate this type of product under the Toxic Substances Control Act -- nor is the agency seeking such authority.
This petition, which was submitted to EPA at the beginning of this month, is one of hundreds of petitions submitted to EPA by outside groups each year. This petition was filed under TSCA, which requires the agency to review and respond within 90 days.
EPA is taking action on many fronts to address major sources of lead in our society, such as eliminating childhood exposures to lead; however, EPA was not and is not considering taking action on whether the lead content in hunting ammunition poses an undue threat to wildlife.
As there are no similar jurisdictional issues relating to the agency's authority over fishing sinkers, EPA – as required by law – will continue formally reviewing a second part [of] the petition related to lead fishing sinkers.
Those wishing to comment specifically on the fishing tackle issue can do so by visiting http://www.regulations.gov. EPA will consider comments that are submitted by September 15.
The denial is in response to a petition filed Aug. 3 by several environmental groups, including the Center for Biological Diversity, the American Bird Conservancy and the Assn. of Avian Veterinarians, seeking to ban the use of lead in ammunition and fishing tackle. The petition claimed that traditional bullets used by hunters are inconsistent with the Toxic Substance Control Act and that such ammo poses a danger to wildlife, in particular raptors, that may feed on unrecovered game in the field.
-- Kelly Burgess
Photo: Handgun ammunition of various calibers. Credit: Judi Bottoni / Associated Press