Congressman Walter B. Jones urges EPA to stand with
fishermen and deny petition to ban lead fishing tackle
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today U.S. Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3) and fellow members of the bipartisan Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus urged U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa P. Jackson to deny a petition from environmental organizations to ban the use of lead in fishing products. The petition, which is opposed by fishing organizations organizations across the country, would hurt recreational fisherman by driving up costs on traditional fishing tackle. Jones and his colleagues believe there is no scientific evidence demonstrating that a ban is necessary.
The text of the Congressional Sporstmen’s Caucus letter to EPA, which was signed by 78 members of Congress, follows below:
“Dear Administrator Jackson:
As members of the bipartisan Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, the largest and most active caucus on Capitol Hill, we are writing to urge you to dismiss the petition to ban the use of lead in fishing products. The attached letter from leading hunting, fishing and conservation organizations clearly points out that there is no scientific basis to warrant such a far reaching ban on traditional fishing equipment. A similar proposal to ban lead fishing tackle was dismissed by the EPA in the mid-1990s, because there was insufficient data to support such a ban – there is no additional data to support a ban today.
The American wildlife management model is the best in the world, and one of the pillars of this model is that the states retain the authority to manage most of their fish and wildlife. These state agencies are already monitoring and addressing any of the localized issues surrounding lead, making this draconian ban not only unnecessary, but intrusive. In a letter to you on this very issue dated September 2nd, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, which represents the collective perspectives of the 50 state fish and wildlife agencies, concludes, “A national ban on lead fishing sinkers is therefore neither necessary nor appropriate.”
The President’s “America’s Great Outdoors” initiative is aimed at reconnecting Americans to the outdoors; fishing is an accessible, fun, family oriented activity that should be embraced and encouraged as part of this initiative. A ban on traditional fishing tackle will drive up costs substantially and serve as a disincentive for more Americans to get outside and enjoy this great pastime.
There are 60 million recreational anglers in America that contribute $125 billion to our economy annually. Penalizing these men, women and children that are the best stewards of our environment, as well as the financial backbone to fish and wildlife conservation in our country, would be a terrible and unnecessary injustice.
We urge you to deny the petition to ban the use of lead in fishing products.”
For additional information, please contact Catherine Fodor in Congressman Jones’ office at (202) 225-3415.