The American Bird Conservancy (ABC), the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and other members of a diverse coalition of conservation, animal health and hunting groups have challenged the recent EPA decision to deny their petition to ban the use of lead as a component of hunting ammunition. Contrary to EPA's position, the groups contend that EPA has the authority to act under TSCA. EPA believes that the Agency does not have the authority due to an exclusion for such products in TSCA Section 3(2)(B)(v).
Following the denial of its petition, CBD has filed a Freedom of Information Act request with EPA seeking copies of all documents related to EPA's decision and also have requested a meeting with Agency management. ABC had decided to take administrative action to challenge the petition denial and also is considering other legal challenges.
The National Rifle Association opposes the possibility of EPA having authority over firearms. The issue goes to the scope of EPA's authority under TSCA to regulate the chemical components of ammunition.
The ABC advises that every month over one million wild animals are dying slow and gruesome deaths from lead poisoning including bald eagles. Animals are poisoned when they scavenge on carcasses shot and contaminated with lead bullet fragments, or pick up and eat spent lead shot pellets or lost fishing weights. They observe that the paint, auto, toy and petroleum industries all have successfully spearheaded efforts to remove lead hazards from their products and it is time lead was removed from ammunition and fishing gear too.
While the legislative history of TSCA provides "...the Committee does not exclude from regulation under the bill chemical components of ammunition which could be hazardous because of their chemical properties...," there appears to be a conflict developing over the interpretation of the law and its scope as it relates to lead ammunition. More information on this issue is available from the ABC at http://www.abcbirds.org/newsandreports/latestnews.html