Will Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson make a back door move to ban lead bullets the day before the November 2 elections?
Several environmentalist groups led by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) are petitioning the EPA to ban lead bullets and shot (as well as lead sinkers for fishing) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Although EPA is barred by statute from controlling ammunition, CBD is seeking to work farther back along the manufacturing chain and have EPA ban the use of lead in bullets and shot because non-lead alternatives are available.
But here’s the catch: the alternatives to lead bullets are more expensive. A ban on the sale of lead ammunition would force hunters and sport shooters to buy non-lead ammunition that is oftendouble the cost of traditional lead ammunition. A box of deer hunting bullets in a popular caliber could be upwards of $55.
Although the EPA could have dismissed the request due to a lack of jurisdiction, it is obliging CBD. The EPA has asked for public comment on banning lead in ammunition, and an EPA notice was publishedseeking public comment that closes on October 31. Jackson would then make a decision to accept or reject the petition on November 1. You might say that even considering enacting what is effectively a new tax on hunters and gun owners–seemingly the only non-liberal group the Obama administration hasn’t yet intentionally provoked–is less-than-perfect timing for the already beleagured Democrats as the midterm elections approach.