Interior Secretary Zinke Revokes Obama Rule Banning Lead Ammo On Federal Lands

DOI image by Tami Heilimann via Flickr Creative Commons

The Obama administration was nothing if not monomanical in its hatred of firearms. It not only tried to invent facts on the ground (Fast & Furious) and pimp tragedies (Newton) in the cause of gun control, it used its regulatory power to try to make gun buying, ownership and use much more difficult. On its very last day in office, Obama’s head of the Fish & Wildlife Service issued an order banning lead ammunition and lead sinkers from federal lands. The rule was issued without public input or even any actual science to demonstrate that so much lead from expended ammo and abandoned sinkers was plopped on federal land to make any difference.


The order states that FWS policy will be to “[r]equire the use of nontoxic ammunition and fishing tackle to the fullest extent practicable for all activities on Service lands, waters, and facilities by January 2022, except as needed for law enforcement or health and safety uses.” It also calls for collaboration with state and fish wildlife agencies in implementing this policy.

The order goes on to outline a series of steps the FWS will take to implement the policy, first and foremost of which is the favored gun control tactic of using “science” to re-enforce pre-existing policy goals, rather than to guide those goals in the first place. Rather humorously, the order states, “The Service will continue to support targeted research to understand the human, fish, and wildlife health benefits of using nontoxic ammunition and fishing tackle.”

And if science were to discover lead wasn’t so bad or non-lead ammunition and fishing tackle could actually lead to adverse health effects of their own? Well, that wouldn’t be “targeted.”

The order also requires that “over the next 24 months, each Regional Director, in coordination with relevant Assistant Directors, should work with individual states, regional state fish and wildlife associations, and tribes to identify opportunities to expand existing state, Federal, or tribal requirements for use of nontoxic ammunition and fishing tackle on Service lands, waters and facilities.”

It goes on to state that FWS Regions should enact and enforce on their own lands, wasters, and facilities requirements for non-lead ammunition and fishing tackle that have already been enacted by states, tribes, and other federal agencies.


Personnel is policy. And the first act of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke was to sh**-can this rule.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke signed an order Thursday overturning a ban on using lead ammunition on wildlife refuges.

Zinke signed the order on his first day in office, overturning a policy implemented by former Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Director Dan Ashe on Jan. 19, the Obama administration’s last full day in office.

Ashe’s policy banned the use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle on all FWS wildlife refuges that allow hunting or fishing, as well as in all other hunting or fishing regulated by the agency elsewhere.

It was meant to help prevent plants and animals from being poisoned by lead left on the ground or in the water.

“After reviewing the order and the process by which it was promulgated, I have determined that the order is not mandated by any existing statutory or regulatory requirement and was issued without significant communication, consultation or coordination with affected stakeholders,” Zinke wrote in his order.

Zinke also signed an order Thursday asking agencies within his purview to find ways to increase access to outdoor recreation on the lands they oversee.

“It worries me to think about hunting and fishing becoming activities for the land-owning elite,” he said in a statement. “This package of secretarial orders will expand access for outdoor enthusiasts and also make sure the community’s voice is heard.”


Zinke is completely right. Under Obama the push was to turn federal lands into pristene preserves off limits to most Americans. You see this over and over with their active war on ranchers using grazing land and on snowmobile use. This mandate for use of non-lead ammunition was nothing more than a back door way of keeping hunters and fishermen out of the playground for the wealthy that Obama was trying to create.



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