A Missouri Congressman who’s part of the bipartisan Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus is calling on the president to revoke a “midnight rule” involving fishing and hunting on federal land.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) issued a director’s order on January 19, the last full day of the Obama administration. The order phases out of the use of traditional lead ammunition and fishing tackle on federal land. U.S. Rep. Jason Smith (R-Salem), an avid hunter, describes the ban as a “blow” to sportsmen and fishermen across the nation.
“This is just the prime example of ridiculous regulations,” says Smith. “This is in fact one that had no opportunity for any comment from the public and was just shoved down our throat at the last hour.”
The Salem Republican tells Missourinet he’s hopeful that President Donald Trump (R) will overturn the Fish and Wildlife Service Directive.
The FWS says the order is aimed at benefiting human, fish and wildlife health.
Smith disagrees with the agency’s belief.
“There’s no scientific evidence that has been proven that the use of lead ammunition or (fishing) tackle, which has been used since we settled North America, has proven to be harmful to wildlife. So it’s absolutely ridiculous,” Smith says.
The agency’s order says ingested lead pellets “from shotgun shells have been a common source of lead poisoning in birds.”
The order, which is posted online, also says the use of lead ammunition presents “an ongoing risk to upland or terrestrial migratory birds and other species.”
FWS says the Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and several other laws provide legal authority for the order.
Smith complains the agency issued the order on the last full day of the Obama administration, and says FWS did not seek input from sportsmen and conservationists.
61 members of the U.S. House of Representatives have signed Congressman Smith’s letter to President Trump, urging the president to overturn the FWS order.
The Salem Republican says the letter is bipartisan.
“I’ve gotten several Democrats on board, I’ve got several members of (House) leadership. It’s just something that’s absolutely ridiculous, and we’re going to put the pressure to President Trump and hopefully he’ll rescind it.”
The other five Republicans in Missouri’s House delegation have signed the letter. They are U.S. Reps. Sam Graves (R-Tarkio), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-St. Elizabeth), Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville), Billy Long (R-Springfield) and Ann Wagner (R-Ballwin).
Smith’s sprawling district covers 30 counties in southeast and south-central Missouri. It includes 29 entire counties and the southern portion of Jefferson County, which is south of St. Louis.