New Interior head lifts lead ammunition
ban in nod to hunters
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[March 03, 2017]
By Valerie Volcovici
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New U.S. Interior
Secretary Ryan Zinke on Thursday issued an order overturning an Obama
administration ban on the controversial use of lead ammunition and
fishing tackle used on federal lands and waters, in a nod to hunters and
fishermen on his first day on the job.
Zinke, who was a first-term Montana Congressman and a former Navy SEAL,
arrived for his first day at work at the Interior Department in
Washington on a horse named Tonto escorted by mounted U.S. Park Police
Zinke, an avid angler and hunter, lifted the lead ammunition ban in one
of two secretarial orders, which he said were meant to "expand access to
public lands and increase hunting, fishing, and recreation opportunities
President Barack Obama's Fish and Wildlife Service had issued the lead
ban on Jan. 19, one day before the inauguration of President Donald
Trump, to protect birds and fish from lead poisoning. The move was met
with sharp criticism from the National Rifle Association (NRA), which
called it Obama's "final assault on gun owners' and sportsmen's rights."
The Interior Department, which is in charge of conserving fish, wildlife
and their habitat, manages one-fifth of the land in the United States.
It employs more than 70,000 people across the United States.
Zinke also signed an order on Thursday that would direct federal
agencies to identify areas where recreation and fishing can be expanded
and sought recommendations for expanding access to public lands and
improving fishing and wildlife habitat.
"This package of secretarial orders will expand access for outdoor
enthusiasts and also make sure the community's voice is heard," he said.
[to top of second column]
New Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke tips his cowboy hat after riding
in on horseback with a U.S. Park Police horse mounted unit reporting
for his first day of work at the Interior Department in Washington,
U.S., March 2, 2017. Tami Heilemann/Department of Interior/Handout
The NRA, as well as hunting and fishing groups including the
Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation, National Shooting Sports
Foundation, Ducks Unlimited and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation
Partnership attended the signing of the orders.
Zinke said that fishing, hunting, and other outdoor recreation
activities "generate thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in
(Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Sandra Maler)
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