September 30, 2020 | News | No Comments
On his first full day in office Thursday, newly-confirmed Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke rode a horse to work and proceeded to repeal a rule that protected plants and animals from lead poisoning.
The former Montana congressman’s order (pdf) overturned a policy put into place by former Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) director Dan Ashe on January 19, before the Obama administration left office, that banned the use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle in FWS wildlife refuges and other federal lands that allow hunting or fishing.
He also signed a separate order asking other agencies under his purview to come up with ways to make federal lands more accessible for recreational use, saying it “worries” him to think about hunting and fishing becoming a sport of the “land-owning elite.”
According to the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), spent lead ammunition causes poisoning in 130 species of birds and animals, and hundreds of reports have been written about the dangers of lead exposure to wildlife. The center said Zinke’s swift action repealing the ban came in response to pressure from the National Rifle Association (NRA), which spent $30 million on ads promoting President Donald Trump’s election.
“Switching to nontoxic ammunition should be a no-brainer to save the lives of thousands birds and other wildlife, prevent hunters and their families from being exposed to toxic lead, and protect our water,” said Jonathan Evans, CBD’s environmental health legal director.
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