March 28th, 2009

National Park Service Retracts Proposed Lead Ammo Ban

National Park ServiceIn an official press release dated March 10, 2009, the National Park Service (NPS) announced its intention to ban all lead bullets, lead-containing ammunition, and lead fishing tackle in the lands under NPS control. National Park Service director Dan Wenk stated: “Our goal is to eliminate the use of lead ammunition and lead fishing tackle in parks by the end of 2010. We want to take a leadership role in removing lead from the environment.”

Well, it looks like the NPS was not prepared for a firestorm of criticism. This week it back-peddled, issuing another press release stating that there would be no actual lead ban affecting the general public.

National Park Service Clarifies Lead Ammo Policy
Faced with pressure from groups representing hunters and anglers, and criticism from some politicians, the Park Service has disavowed its stated policy to ban lead ammo and lead fishing tackle by 2010. Now the Park Service is saying that it was “misunderstood”. Last week the Park Service issued a “clarification”, stating that the proposed lead restrictions would only apply to Park Service employees and projects. Duly chastened, the NPS pledged to seek input from hunters, anglers, and other interested parties. No future ban on lead ammo or tackle will be imposed without “public involvement, comment, and review”. Here are the key points in the latest NPS release:

“1. Nothing has changed for the public. We are simply announcing the NPS goal of eliminating lead from NPS activities to protect human and wildlife health.

2. We will work to clean our own house by altering NPS resource management activities. In 2009, we will transition to non-lead ammunition in culling operations and dispatching sick or wounded animals.

3. In the future, we will look at the potential for transitioning to non-lead ammunition and non-lead fishing tackle for recreational use by working with our policy office and appropriate stakeholders/groups. This will require public involvement, comment, and review.”

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March 16th, 2009

National Park Service Bans Lead Ammo and Fishing Tackle

Park Service Lead BanIn an official press release dated March 10, 2009, the National Parks Service (NPS) announced its intention to ban all lead bullets, lead-containing ammunition, and lead fishing tackle in the lands under NPS control.

According to acting National Park Service director Dan Wenk: “Our goal is to eliminate the use of lead ammunition and lead fishing tackle in parks by the end of 2010. We want to take a leadership role in removing lead from the environment.”

The NPS announcement has drawn scathing criticism from groups representing hunters and anglers. The National Shooting Sports Foundation called the decision “arbitrary, over-reactive, and not based on science”. According to the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, the NPS lead ban “would needlessly push hunters to use more costly bullets made of tungsten, copper, and steel. The restrictions, set to take affect by the end of 2010, were announced without regard to science and without soliciting feedback from sportsmens’ groups.”

Outdoor groups were blind-sided by the NPS policy change, as the Park Service made no effort to consult hunters and fishermen before instituting the “no-lead” policy. “The NPS announcement demonstrates either complete ignorance or complete arrogance as to the effect that this policy will have on hunters,” said NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox. “There is no science to support NPS’s contention that the use of lead ammunition in hunting is causing environmental contamination, having a negative effect on wildlife, or posing a threat to the health of visitors or park staff. This policy, and the lack of communication in advance with the sportsmen’s community, is a deliberate attempt to reduce the number of people who will want to hunt in the 60 parks that are open to hunting.”

With the Park Service lead ban be fully implemented as planned? We’ll have to see whether the chorus of criticism can derail the NPS policy. Jim Shepherd of the Outdoor Wire writes: “When the National Park Service decided to ban lead in fishing tackle and ammunition from properties under their control, they probably thought this was another of their little surprises that would stay under the radar. Instead, they’ve found themselves justifiably pilloried by a wide array of organizations representing the hunting and fishing communities and several state legislatures who find their capricious rule-making more than a little offensive.”

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