In one of his first acts as the nation's new Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke overturned one of the Obama Administration's final acts, banning the use of lead bullets for hunting on wildlife refuges.
The ban on lead ammunition and fishing tackle was enacted the day before President Obama left office, and applied to federal wildlife refuges and any other lands where the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regulates hunting and fishing.
Critters at Risk
It was intended to prevent fish, birds and other animals from being poisoned by the lead left behind in carcasses, on the ground or in water. Hunting groups rallied against the ban, calling it an "assault on gun owners' and sportsmans' rights."
“After reviewing the order and the process by which it was promulgated, I have determined that the order is not mandated by any existing statutory or regulatory requirement and was issued without significant communication, consultation or coordination with affected stakeholders,” Zinke wrote in his order.
Zinke also signed an order Thursday asking agencies within his purview to find ways to increase access to outdoor recreation on the lands they oversee.
“It worries me to think about hunting and fishing becoming activities for the land-owning elite,” he said in a statement. “This package of secretarial orders will expand access for outdoor enthusiasts and also make sure the community's voice is heard.”
In his confirmation hearing, Zinke made it clear that removing hurdles to hunters and anglers on federal lands would be one of his highest priorities.