Good Call: Senate Sidelines Sportsmen’s Act

Bald eagles and other raptors ingest poison when they consume prey laden with lead shot. The Sporstmen’s Act of 2012 sought to limit EPA oversight of such environmental contaminants. Photo by Ingrid Taylor.An attempt to undermine longstanding wildlife, land conservation, and public health laws was defeated in November, when the Sportsmen’s Act of 2012 (S. 3525) was blocked from passage in the U.S. Senate. The Sportsmen’s Act would have amended the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) to permit importation of polar bear carcasses taken before the species was listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act in 2008—including those killed despite multiple warnings of an imminent ban on imports. It would also have weakened the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) by eliminating the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate hazardous substances—including lead—released by hunting and fishing gear.

AWI actively opposed this legislation during the 112th Congress, as well as efforts to insert similar provisions into other bills. A subsequent attempt to exempt lead ammunition from the TSCA through an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act also failed. Although Congress came to a close without passing these dangerous amendments to the MMPA and TSCA, the provisions may be reintroduced in 2013.