South Dakota senator battling lead regulations

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - - Fishermen across the country worry their favorite pastime wouldn't be the same.

“If EPA were to get in and start regulating what’s inside someone’s tackle box it would have big impacts on some people’s ability to fish," Scott Gudes, Vice President of Government Affairs at the Sport Fishing Association.

Scott Gudes has been sport fishing for decades. But he’s worried if the Environmental Protection Agency were to ban lead fishing tackle it would put a stump in summers to come.

"It’s the most cost-effective way of providing weight to fishing. Again anglers aren’t trying to leave lead out in the environment the idea is to bring it back along with your line," Gudes added.

South Dakota a Senator John Thune says any EPA regulations would have a negative economic impact. He’s reintroducing a bipartisan bill that would prevent the EPA from regulating lead in ammunition and tackle, and leave it up to the states.

“If you had EPA regulating that and requiring everyone to move someone to move to some other material that drives up the cost by about 25% so it’s a pocket book issue," Sen. John Thune (R-SD) said.

Thune said a federal regulation like this would hit at the heart of South Dakota’s recreational industry. But environmental and animal rights organizations say the cost of wildlife would be much greater.

“We shouldn’t subject them to slow death by poisoning because we didn’t have the smarts to switch to a non toxic form of tackle or ammunition," Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO at the Humane Society of the United States said.

Wayne Pacelle from the Humane Society of the United States said lead is extremely dangerous to both animals and human life. He said there are alternatives to lead that will be much safer.

“Other ways to produce these products, to drive our automobiles and coat our walls, we figured out other ways to do it without heaving health threats," he added.

This is the third time Thune has introduced this bill. The past two times, it failed to reach the Senate floor for a vote.

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