Tuesday, September 14, 2010

LaTourette says other issues more weighty than lead sinkers

With the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency having told environmentalists it has no authority over regulating lead-based ammunition, U.S. Rep. Steven LaTourette, R-Bainbridge Township, thinks the agency should do the same regarding lead fishing tackle.

That includes sinkers and such.

A few weeks ago several environmental groups petitioned the U.S. EPA to look at banning both lead-based ammunition and lead-based fishing tackle, such as sinkers.

While rejecting authority over ammunition the agency is currently taking reviewing what - if any - authority it has related to fishing gear.

That's too much for LaTourette, however, who believs that 60 million American anglers would sink under a lead ban. The ban could include sinkers, jigs, weighted fly line, and many lures and spinners that contain some lead.

"The EPA must review, as required by law, a petition filed by environmental groups that seeks to ban lead in ammunition, fishing tackle and sinkers," LaTourett says in a press release issued today.

"The EPA will soon decide whether to move toward issuing new regulations that would greatly impact recreational fishing, which contributes $125 billion annually to the economy."

LaTourette correctly noted that the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus will send a letter to the EPA later this week urging the EPA to dismiss the petition, thus stopping the issue from moving toward a regulation or rulemaking process.

“We’ve got historic unemployment, soaring deficits and are dealing with a massive oil spill in the Gulf and the EPA is worried about lead fishing tackle,” LaTourette said. “If this doesn’t tell you our priorities are out of whack, I don’t know what will.”

LaTourette said the original deadline for comments was Oct. 31, but the EPA slashed the comment period and it ends tomorrow -- Sept. 15. To submit a comment, go to: http://www.regulations.gov/search/Regs/home.html#submitComment?R=0900006480b3f0cd

The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, which represents 50 state fish and wildlife agencies, told the EPA last week that a “national ban on lead fishing sinkers is…neither necessary nor appropriate.”

Some fishing groups say fishing tackle and sinkers made without lead can be six to 15 percent more expensive.

“How much would this ban cost, how many manufacturers will go out of business and how would such a ridiculous ban be enforced?” LaTourette said. “Are we going to hire millions of tackle box inspectors? Will the administration add a fishing tackle czar?”

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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