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December 12, 2011

Anti-Fishing Groups Bypass Ongoing Lawsuit in Attempt to Ban Lead Tackle

Sportfishing community calls for the dismissal of unwarranted petition for a national ban on lead fishing tackle

Alexandria, VA – On November 16, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was yet again petitioned by the Center for Biological Diversity and two other anti-fishing groups, requesting that the agency regulate the manufacture and sale of lead fishing tackle of certain sizes and uses under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). If approved, such regulation could result in a de facto ban of lead sinkers, jigs and other popular types of fishing equipment.

This comes on the heels of a similar petition that the EPA dismissed in November 2010. The original petition also sought to ban lead hunting and shooting ammunition, which is exempted from regulation under TSCA. In dismissing the original petition, the EPA indicated that the “petitioners have not demonstrated that the requested rule is necessary to protect against an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment, as required by the TSCA.”

“The sportfishing community is once again asking the EPA to rule on the side of scientific fish and wildlife population management and dismiss this unwarranted petition,” said American Sportfishing Association (ASA) Vice President Gordon Robertson. “Such regulations will have a significant, negative impact on recreational anglers and the sportfishing industry, yet the petitioners lack credible science to back such a far-reaching request. They claim lead is threatening loons across the nation, but several studies, including one by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have shown that loon populations are either stable or increasing throughout most of their range.”

"Despite the EPA's clear ruling, the petitioners continue to attempt to push the ban," said Robertson. "This further demonstrates the need for a legislative solution to this growing threat to recreational fishing. In response, the co-chairs of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus have introduced the Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Sports Protection Act, which would prevent an overreaching ban of lead fishing tackle. With anti-fishing organizations trying to over-regulate fishing using whatever means they can, legislation is needed to protect traditional fishing tackle and ammunition from unjustified bans that will harm the economy and reduce participation in outdoor activities."

“Last year more than 43,000 anglers sent their objections to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson through KeepAmericaFishing™,” said Robertson. “ASA encourages members of the sportfishing industry and the angling public to contact the EPA in opposition to the petition and to urge their Members of Congress to support the Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Sports Protection Act. ASA will soon provide suggested comments on www.KeepAmericaFishing.org. The sportfishing industry applauds the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus for its leadership and for so powerfully addressing an issue that urgently needs a dose of common sense.”

Two of the three petitioners are currently engaged in a lawsuit against the EPA’s dismissal of the original petition to ban lead fishing tackle. “The petitioners are taking advantage of our federal government, ignoring the decision that the EPA made just a year ago and working around the ongoing litigation that they filed shortly after that decision,” said Robertson. “This is a gaming of the system and ASA urges the EPA to deny the most recent petition and asks all anglers to voice their support for the Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Sports Protection Act.”