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March 2, 2017

Secretary Zinke Downs Last-Minute Lead Ban; Preserves Sportsmen’s Ability to Participate in Traditions

Secretary Ryan Zinke - Secretarial orders
Secretary Ryan Zinke issued two secretarial orders which expand access to public lands and increase hunting, fishing, and recreation opportunities nationwide.

Secretary Ryan Zinke, just hours into his first day on the job, took swift action in scrapping the ban on lead by hunters and anglers in outdoor recreation that was passed on the final full day by the Obama administration.

“It’s time to put ammunition back where it belongs; in the hands of hunters,” Secretary Zinke said.

Zinke’s actions preserves the ability of hunters and target shooters to participate in their traditions on the first day in office and illustrate his priorities.

“Secretary Zinke’s rapid response to the previous administration’s parting shot on hunters, target shooters and anglers demonstrates the true friend and common sense solutions we can expect from the Department of the Interior,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel. “The timing of the traditional ammunition ban on federal lands tells you everything you need to know about the decision. Likewise, the decisive action by Secretary Zinke tells you what you need to know and what we can expect from an Interior Secretary who himself is a hunter, angler and outdoor sportsman.”

Zinke also signed an order re-establishing the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council. Originally chartered by President George W. Bush, the Council ensures sportsmen have a formal role in making recommendations on policies affecting hunting, fishing and shooting access and wildlife conservation.

Additionally, the Secretary announced he would appoint a senior political appointee who will handle sportsmen’s issues on the Secretary’s senior staff.

The NSSF led the sharp denouncement and reversal of former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Dan Ashe’s Director’s Order 219, which called for the outright ban of the use of traditional ammunition and fishing tackle on federal lands in five years. Since the announcement, there has been a steady and growing appeal to strike down the order. The decision was drafted without input from industry and conservation groups, cited no scientific evidence upon which the decision was based. In fact, the order called for immediate implementation if any evidence was introduced, regardless of scientific value or verifiability.

Secretary Zinke didn’t wait for the appointment of a new U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service director to overturn the Ashe order. Instead, he rolled it back as one of his first actions. Zinke stuck to his guns when he told senators in the Natural Resources Committee during his confirmation that for too long Washington, D.C., pushed out policy changes without input from states or local authorities and often without regard to the consequences of those changes. Zinke’s quick and significant actions on behalf of hunters, target shooters and anglers demonstrates that sportsmen’s voices will be reflected in conversations in President Trump’s administration.

Zinke also said he believes that public lands should be governed in keeping with the philosophy inscribed on the Roosevelt Arch at the entrance to Yellowstone which affirms that our taxpayer owned federal lands exist “For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People.”

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