Zinke overturns Obama administration's lead ammunition ban


KALISPELL, Mont. - Just one day after being confirmed Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke overturned a controversial Obama administration decision banning the use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle on federal land.

The Obama administration issued its ban one day before the former president left office.

Those we talked to at local gun shops agree with Zinke's decision.

"To put another law excluding lead, it was just another excuse to me," Snappy's Sports Senter's Kirk Rasmussen said.

But environmental groups say that ban was put there for a reason.

"There's a lot of evidence that hunters who use lead bullets and their families are at risk of lead poisoning in several ways," legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity Jonathan Evans said.

A study by the University of North Dakota in 2009 states those who consume wild game have 50 percent more lead in their blood.

Lawrence Keane, the senior vice president for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, fired back at those claims, telling digital publication Undark in January that "there is certainly no evidence at all that there is a risk to human health by consuming game harvested with traditional ammunition."

In Montana some major areas affected will be the Swan Lake Wildlife Refuge in Flathead County and the Ninepine National Wildlife Refuge in Charlo.

Zinke said opening land for outdoor activities was his main objective. "This package of secretarial orders will expand access for outdoor enthusiasts and also make sure the community's voice is heard," he said.

Some feel their voices are being suppressed.

"I think it really is catering to a very narrow special interest. If it cost $1, $2 or more for several rounds or a package of ammo to not have lead poison your family and the game meat, that's money well spent," Evans said.

Zinke signed the order March 2, and it is effective immediately.