FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 02/16/2012
Representative Flynn Writes to the EPA
AUSTIN, TX— On February 2, 2012 Representative Flynn sent the following letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Administrator to deny the new petition to initiate federal regulation of lead fishing tackle.
Dear Administrator Jackson:
On behalf of the Texas State Legislative Sportsman’s Caucus, I/we urge you to deny the November 16, 2011 “Petition to the Environmental Protection Agency to Regulate Lead Fishing Tackle Under the Toxic Substances Control Act.” Such regulation is not biologically justified, would place an undue economic burden on the anglers of our states and would supersede long-standing state authority to manage fish and wildlife resources.
I/We applaud the EPA for denying the 2010 petition to ban lead ammunition and fishing tackle. Likewise, we ask that you also deny the new petition to initiate federal regulation of lead fishing tackle. There is no substantial evidence to suggest that lead fishing tackle has detrimental impacts on loon, or other migratory waterfowl populations. In fact, a study by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service found that less than one percent of waterfowl and other bird mortality can be attributed to lead ingestion. In the few cases where localized problems have occurred, the individual state natural resource agencies have implemented measures to minimize those impacts and conserve wildlife populations.
The use of lead in fishing tackle dates back thousands of years because of its unique qualities, including the fact that it is cheap and easy to obtain. Despite the claims of the petitioners, substitute metals and alloys for lead sinkers are not readily available and can cost substantially more than equivalent lead weights. We fear that if this federal ban were imposed, it would discourage many anglers from participating in recreational fishing activities. A drop in participation would mean shortfalls in license sales and excise taxes that support fish and wildlife management efforts within our states.
The development of policies surrounding the use of lead fishing tackle is biologically, socially and economically complex. The states are in the best position to understand and balance those factors in the interest of our natural resources and our constituents.
Please deny the unjustified and unnecessary petition to impose federal regulation on lead fishing tackle.
As Chairman of the Texas Legislative Sportsman's Caucus, Representative Flynn felt it necessary to make the EPA aware of their view on the 2011 petition.