Last month, Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke reversed former President Obama’s last-minute ban on the use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle on federal lands.
The reversal marked one of Zinke’s first moves in office, and gun rights groups are hopeful his decision is only the first in a long line of pro-gun, pro-hunter federal actions.
“Secretary Zinke’s rapid response to the previous administration’s parting shot on hunters, target shooters and anglers demonstrates the true friend and common sense solutions we can expect from the Department of the Interior,” said Lawrence G. Keane, the National Shootings Sports Foundation senior vice president and general counsel.
“The timing of the traditional ammunition ban on federal lands tells you everything you need to know about the decision. Likewise, the decisive action by Secretary Zinke tells you what you need to know and what we can expect from an Interior Secretary who himself is a hunter, angler and outdoor sportsman.”
Zinke’s order does not to mention the environmental (non)effects of lead ammunition and fishing tackle. Instead, he justifies his decision on the basis that the previous administration conducted no “significant communication, consultation, or coordination with affected stakeholders” before implementing the ban.
In other words, neither President Obama nor the previous Secretary of the Interior consulted sportsmen before making a decision that would affect millions of sportsmen nationwide.
Zinke plans to take a much different attitude.
During his confirmation hearing, he told senators in the Natural Resources Committee that for too long Washington, D.C., implemented policy changes without input from states or local authorities and often without regard to the consequences of those changes.
Since arriving in Washington on horseback, Zinke has made a number of moves that reinforce his commitment to listening and responding to hunters and fisherman.
In another order, Zinke instructs the Department of the Interior to seek recommendations from the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council and the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council for expanding and enhancing hunting and fishing opportunities on federal public land.
Zinke also announced he will appoint to his senior staff a person whose sole responsibility will be to handle sportsmen’s issues.
In a statement, Ducks Unlimited CEO Dale Hall said Zinke’s early actions prove that sportsmen (and women) will once again have a voice in the Department of the Interior:
“Providing places for all Americans to hunt, fish, and recreate is vitally important,” said Hall, who was present for the order signings, “as hunters and anglers are North America’s greatest conservationists. I want to thank Secretary Zinke for his strong commitment and look forward to working with him in his new capacity at the Department of the Interior.”