Environmentalists, Hunters Clash On Outdoors Bill

Likely to pass Senate today


An expansive outdoor recreation and conservation bill expected to pass the Senate on Monday has hunting enthusiasts and environmentalists at odds with one another. The Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 will introduce a number of measures designed to boost funding for fish and wildlife habitats, as well as expand opportunities for hunters. Among the 17 provisions is an increase in the price of duck stamps, the profits from which would go to wetlands protection. It also includes funding for coastal states to eradicate invasive wetland pests, such as nutria.

What has environmentalists concerned is the bill’s language regarding the use of potentially hazardous means. In particular, the bill would allow the continued use of lead ammunition, which introduces some 14,000 tons of lead into the environment every year. Fishing and hunting groups have long resisted the phasing out of lead in their gear, largely due to the expense of alternative, non-toxic ammunition.

Opponents of the bill also argue that the language would make it impossible for the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate not only lead, but other dangerous materials, such as perchlorate, an explosives component linked to thyroid problems in women and young children.

Via Washington Post