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New Litigation Filed Over Spent Lead Ammunition On Public Lands

Grayson_Lynn_COLORBy E. Lynn Grayson


The Center for Biological Diversity, the Sierra Club and the Grand Canyon Wildlands Council have filed a complaint against the U.S. Forest Service to limit the disposal of spent lead ammunition. Filed before the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, the plaintiffs seek to protect wildlife species threatened by exposure to spent lead ammunition in their foraging range on federal land in Arizona, including the Kaibab National Forest.

The complaint alleges that the California condor and other species are particularly susceptible to lead poisoning caused by the ingestion of spent ammunition. The complaint also charges that the U.S. Forest Service has the authority to prohibit or otherwise regulate the use of lead ammunition but has elected not to do so.

According to the plaintiffs, the spent lead ammunition disposed of on public lands presents an imminent and substantial endangerment to health or the environment and the threat is ongoing. Under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the complaint seeks declaratory or injunctive relief to stop continued endangerment to wildlife species occurring within the Kaibab National Forest. The U.S. Forest Service has 60 days to file an answer or otherwise respond to the complaint.

More information about the lawsuit and potential lead contamination concerns on public lands is available at