From Arizona Game and Fish Department
PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Department is in the process of reviewing a petition filed Aug. 3 with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by the Center for Biological Diversity, American Bird Conservancy and three other groups seeking to ban the use of lead in ammunition and fishing tackle.
The petition requests a national ban under the federal Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA). TSCA addresses the production, importation, use and disposal of specific chemicals and/or chemical mixtures. The EPA is required to respond to the petition within 90 days.
Game and Fish is analyzing the petition and its potential ramifications in Arizona. The department believes that further research regarding population-level effects on wildlife is appropriate, given the effectiveness the department has seen in non-regulatory approaches.
The department believes that voluntary, state-level approaches, where the science shows them to be necessary, are the best approaches to address lead-wildlife concerns. Science, not sweeping regulatory change, is the foundation for the conservation and management of healthy wildlife populations.
Arizona Game and Fish has been actively working on lead and wildlife concerns as part of working groups of experts from the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (representing wildlife agencies and professionals of all 50 states and other entities) and the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (representing wildlife agencies of 23 western states and Canadian provinces).
The department has been proactively engaged in reducing the scientifically known impacts of lead to wildlife since the 1980s. When lead toxicity was identified as a concern for waterfowl in 1985, the department implemented a non-lead shot zone for waterfowl hunting in Coconino County prior to a national ban instituted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service six years later.
In 2003, after incidents of lead poisoning were identified in California condors, Arizona Game and Fish initiated a successful, hunter-supported voluntary program to reduce the amount of spent lead ammunition available in northern Arizona. This is one more instance in which hunters and anglers have stepped up to conserve Arizona’s natural resources.
The department is currently following the direction provided by the Arizona Game and Fish Commission in 2009 to work with the public to increase discussions on the impacts of lead on wildlife and possible voluntary strategies to minimize those impacts in the near future and long-term.
The department and commission believe that meaningful progress on this wildlife challenge will occur with full public participation and cooperation. The department has demonstrated that successful voluntary or incentive-based programs developed in cooperation with the conservation community, the sporting goods industry, and state wildlife agencies can be effective.
The department will continue to provide updates on this issue to its constituents.
For more information, visit www.azgfd.gov/lead.