05.10.22

Lankford, Daines, Colleagues Stand Up for Sportsmen & Urge Biden Admin Against Banning Lead Ammo on Public Lands

WASHINGTON, DC  – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today joined Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) to lead a group of their Senate Republican colleagues in urging the Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Martha Williams not to cave in to activists’ calls to restrict the use of lead ammo and tackle on public lands.

The Senators wrote, “Policies or actions that reduce or limit sportsmen activities necessarily implicate wildlife conservation programs by affecting state agencies’ revenue. Such policies or actions also handcuff wildlife managers by removing a critical conservation tool while needlessly alienating one of our original conservationists, sportsmen. Phasing-out lead ammo and tackle on wildlife refuges would disproportionately affect lower-income households and those that depend on hunting and fishing for their subsistence as lead alternatives are often more expensive. The impact of such a policy would be devastating to the sportsmen heritage in our states.”

Joining Lankford and Daines in sending the letter are Senators Shelley Moore Capito (WV), John Boozman (AR), Mike Braun (IN), Richard Burr (NC), Bill Cassidy (LA), Kevin Cramer (ND), Mike Crapo (ID), Bill Hagerty (TN), John Hoeven (ND), Cindy Hyde-Smith (MS), John Kennedy (LA), Cynthia Lummis (WY), Roger Marshall (KS), Jim Risch (ID), Mike Rounds (SD), Rick Scott (FL), Dan Sullivan (AK), John Thune (SD), Thom Tillis (NC), Roger Wicker (MS.), Josh Hawley (MO), Jim Inhofe (OK), John Barrasso (WY), Pat Toomey (PA), and Tom Cotton (AR).

You can find the full text of the letter HERE and below:

Dear Director Williams,

Thank you for your continued advocacy for sportsmen access and your decision to expand hunting and fishing opportunities on over two million acres last August. We understand that calls on the Administration to phase-out the use of lead ammo and tackle or otherwise reduce sportsmen access to our National Wildlife Refuges have resurfaced following the announcement that US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has entered into settlement negotiations with Center for Biological Diversity regarding a lawsuit on a previous decision to expand access on refuges.

As you know, hunting and fishing activities play an integral role in the conservation and management of wildlife and aquatic species. The National Wildlife Refuge Improvement Act of 1977 sought to leverage this conservation tool by ensuring hunting, fishing, and trapping would occur on any wildlife refuge where compatible. Passage of this law has led to the expansion of sportsmen opportunities across the country, including the expansion last August and the expansion currently under litigation.

Policies or actions that reduce or limit sportsmen activities necessarily implicate wildlife conservation programs by affecting state agencies’ revenue. Such policies or actions also handcuff wildlife managers by removing a critical conservation tool while needlessly alienating one of our original conservationists, sportsmen. Phasing-out lead ammo and tackle on wildlife refuges would disproportionately affect lower-income households and those that depend on hunting and fishing for their subsistence as lead alternatives are often more expensive. The impact of such a policy would be devastating to the sportsmen heritage in our states.

We are encouraged that a sportswoman with first-hand knowledge of the intersection between federal policies and state wildlife conservation is leading USFWS in these discussions and encourage you to remain steadfast in defending sportsmen access. We stand ready to partner with you to continue expanding opportunities for sportsmen and sportswomen across the country.

Sincerely,

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