This note will explore EPA’s authority under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) to promulgate regulations banning the use of lead ammunition for any purpose. Section II discusses the impact of lead on the environment and wildlife and demonstrates how even small amounts of lead discharged into the environment through hunting practices can have lethal effects on wildlife, especially scavengers, such as the California condor and the grizzly bear. Section III discusses the current regulations that exist to control the discharge of lead into the environment from the use of other common substances, such as paint and gasoline, demonstrating that the federal government has recognized the toxic effect of lead and has taken steps to eliminate the presence of lead in the natural environment. Then, Section IV discusses how the federal government can leverage the Endangered Species Act to enact a complete prohibition of the use of lead ammunition and how the Act might even mandate such a prohibition based on an interpretation of § 9, which prohibits the “taking” of endangered species. Section V provides a model state statute to demonstrate the positive impact a largescale ban on the use of lead ammunition can have on wildlife populations, provided that sufficient monitoring and enforcement practices are applied. Then, Section VI discusses the hurdles regulations restricting the use of lead ammunition face, such as lobbying efforts by opposing groups, including the National Rifle Association (“NRA”), despite the overall necessity and positive impact of a nationwide ban on the use of lead ammunition and the lack of evidence demonstrating any negative impact a regulation would have on hunters. Finally, Section VII discusses alternatives to lead ammunition for hunting purposes, demonstrating that alternatives are not only widely available, but are also just as practical and cost effective as bullets composed of lead.
Recommended CitationJaclyn McBain Cohen, Silent Spring Revisited – Is it Time to Ban Lead? An Argument for a Federal Ban of the Use of Lead Ammunition for Hunting Game Pursuant to the Endangered Species Act, 39 Pace Envtl. L. Rev. 31 (2022)
Available at: https://digitalcommons.pace.edu/pelr/vol39/iss1/2