Hunting and fishing equipment could no longer be regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for lead content under pending legislation. The Hunting, Fishing & Recreational Shooting Protection Act (S. 225) would exempt ammunition and fishing tackle (including lead sinkers) from the Toxic Substances Control Act. Senators John Thune (R-South Dakota) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) introduced the measure, which was referred to the Committee on Environment & Public Works.
No other senator has cosponsored the bill but the provision is included in the more comprehensive Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015 (S. 659) which is also pending before the committee and was the subject of a recent hearing. The measure would apply to all types of ammunition, including bullets and arrows and all sport fishing components subject to excise tax.
But the provision does not mean the equipment would be free from all regulation, only from EPA. But tackle and ammo would remain under the jurisdiction of the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (which regulates what hunters and fishermen can use on federal land and water) and state governments. The bill would merely take away EPA’s authority to control lead content. EPA’s authority has been stripped already but only through FY 15.
Thune explained in a prepared statement that he fears EPA could make ammo and tackle too costly. Almost all ammunition used in recreational hunting is made from lead and steel shot costs considerably more. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) says steel can cost up to 25 percent more. NSSF, the Safari Club and Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation endorsed the legislation.