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Earthrise Files RCRA Suit in Arizona

September 07, 2012

9/7/12 - On behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity, the Sierra Club and the Grand Canyon Wildlands Council, PEAC filed a complaint on September 5th in the District of Arizona against the United States Forest Service for endangering wildlife and humans by failing to use its authority to prohibit the use of lead ammunition on the Kaibab National Forest in northern Arizona.  Lead is a potent, deadly toxin, exposure to which can cause numerous and severe adverse health effects.  Although lead has been banned in almost all commercial products, such as paint and gasoline, it is still the primary material in many forms of ammunition. Lead ingestion and poisoning from ammunition sources has been documented in many avian predators and scavengers that inhabit Forest Service land in Arizona, such as California condors, bald and golden eagles, northern goshawks, ferruginous hawks, turkey vultures, and common ravens.  Wildlife is exposed to spent lead ammunition when feed on the remains of mammals that have been shot with lead ammunition.

“The Forest Service has a duty to prevent the buildup of toxic materials and the needless lead poisoning of wildlife in our national forests,” said Jeff Miller with the Center. “There’s no justification for continuing to use ammunition that poisons the food supply for birds, and for people who eat game meat, when nonlead alternatives are readily available for all hunting activities in the Kaibab National Forest.”

“We’ve effectively used federal toxics laws to remove lead from water pipes, gasoline, paint, cooking utensils and even wheel weights, and now it’s time to get the lead out of hunting ammunition for the benefit of our wildlife,” said Kim Crumbo with Grand Canyon Wildlands. “The use of nonlead ammunition for hunting waterfowl the past two decades has saved millions of birds from lead poisoning, and Arizona’s forests and wildlife stand to gain the same benefits from requiring lead-free ammunition for big game hunting.”

“Because lead is so dangerous to people and wildlife, even at very low levels, it is imperative that we take this important step to transition ammunition to less toxic alternatives and remove lead from the food chain,” said Sandy Bahr with the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon (Arizona) Chapter. “The Forest Service should require nonlead ammunition for hunting on public land as an important step in limiting lead exposure for condors and other wildlife.”

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