Proposed Lead Ammunition Ban Legislation Seeks to Avoid Scientific Scrutiny by Circumventing Fish & Game Commission’s Review

on . Posted in California Fish and Game Commission, Latest News, Lead Ammunition Ban Proponents

Sacramento, California — On February 21, 2013, Assemblymember Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) introduced AB 711. If passed,  AB 711 would ban all hunting with lead ammunition in the entire state of California.  Several lead ammunition ban proponents are pushing AB 711, despite NRA and CRPA having demonstrated that existing lead ammunition bans have not been effective in lowering blood-lead levels in condors, and despite the debunking of some of the key scientific papers used to justify the existing lead ammunition ban for hunting in the condor zone. Proponents of AB711 are using faulty scientific papers — where researchers have been found to be hiding underlying data and avoiding further peer scrutiny — to achieve their agenda of banning lead ammunition altogether.

Lead ammunition ban proponents argue their science proves that lead ammunition causes lead poisoning in California condors and other wildlife.  In 2008, at their urging, AB 821, a lead ammunition ban in the California condor zone, was hastily enacted.  AB 821 was introduced in the legislature in 2007 in order to circumvent the critical scientific evaluation that was being done by the Fish & Game Commission (Commission), where serious scientific inquiry into the actual source of lead poisoning in condors was underway.  AB 821 was passed by the legislature, while the Commission was excluded from that review process, based on a promise from its proponents that the lead ban would stop lead poisoning in condors.  But AB 821 has done no such thing.

Now it’s deja vu all over again.  Supported again by lead ammunition ban proponents, an expanded lead ammunition ban was introduced in the legislature this year via AB 711, because in August 2012 the Commission refused to expand the current lead ammunition ban in the condor range. Why? Because a serious scientific inquiry into the actual source of lead poisoning in condors was again underway!

At that August 2012 Commission meeting, NRA and CRPA presented evidence showing the AB 821 lead ammunition ban in the condor range was not effective.  Condor blood-lead levels have continued to rise despite the lead free “condor zone” that was in place since 2008, and despite the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s confirmation that 99% of California hunters have been complying with the lead ban since it was enacted.  Compounding the problem, multiple condors have died from lead poisoning since AB 821 went into effect.  These facts strongly suggest that an alternative source of lead in the environment is poisoning condors!

As a result of the NRA and CRPA’s presentation at the August 2012 meeting, then-Commissioner Sutton suggested the formation of a working committee to determine whether lead ammunition was the actual source of lead poisoning in condors and other wildlife.  NRA representatives were to be members of that committee. Then-President Jim Kellogg admonished the lead ammunition ban proponents for using AB 821 in 2007 to go around the Commission in order to advance their agenda – despite the lack of sound science to support it.  At the August 2012 meeting, Kellogg asked the groups  to “allow us the opportunity to try to make this work before you go to the legislature and get a bill going. That’s what rushed it through the last time.  Give us an opportunity [to address this issue] first.”  To watch this hearing, view the video [here].  Sadly, Kellogg’s plea to these organizations was ignored, and AB 711 was the result.

Through the working committee on lead poisoning in condors, the Department and the Commission are ready to investigate both sides of the lead ammunition debate, and to make an informed decision based on the facts and sound science. But before the working committee even started, the lead ammunition ban proponents disregarded the Commission’s admonishment, circumvented the Commission’s committee process, and convinced a legislator to introduce AB 711 in the legislature, where the science will not be scrutinized.

Lead ban proponents have no intention of stopping with a ban on lead ammunition.  Humane Society President and CEO Wayne Pacelle has stated, “We are going to use the ballot box and the democratic process to stop all hunting in the United States.  We will take it species by species until all hunting is stopped in California.  Then we will take it state by state.”

The Audubon Society is also pushing AB 711.  Their involvement raises conflict of interest  concerns because the current Executive Director of Audubon California is in fact, Commissioner Sutton.  Sutton was recently elected President of the Commission, and is responsible for forming the working committee to investigate the real source of lead poisoning in condors. Though President Sutton has said, “Most of us [on the Commission] feel it is inappropriate to use the presidency as a bully pulpit for your views,” Sutton nonetheless did noting to stop his organization from co-sponsoring AB 711, which will side step the Commission’s scientific investigation into the real source of lead poisoning in condors and other wildlife.

It is not hard to figure out why the lead ban proponents introduced AB 711. The facts and the science do not support an expansion of the current lead ammunition ban. Under the heightened scrutiny from the Department or Commission, where “the science has got to make sense or else you’re not going to sell the rest of us [on a lead ammunition ban], that’s for darn sure.”  (Commissioner Rogers at the August 8, 2012 meeting) they fear their faulty "science" will be seen for what it is, or is not. So now these groups intend to avoid serious scientific scrutiny by instead arm-twisting the politicians in the legislature.

This is exactly how they were able to obtain the initial lead ammunition ban (AB 821), which has been scientifically proven to be a failure.

AB 711 has been referred to the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks, and Wildlife.  Please contact the committee to voice your opposition to this unwarranted and politically-motivated attack on traditional ammunition!

Stay tuned to www.huntfortruth.org and www.calgunlaws.com, for alerts on this bill and other dangerous pieces of legislation being considered in Sacramento. For a list of other bills being tracked this session, and to use the NRA’s one-click e-mail system to voice your opposition, please visit www.calnra.com.

California State Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife 1020 N Street, Room 160 Sacramento, CA 95814 Telephone: (916) 319-2096 Fax: (916) 319-2196 *Please note that automated e-mail link only permits e-mails from residents of each committee member’s individual district. To contact the Committee itself, please call, write, and/or fax the Committee at the contact information listed above.

Committee Members

District

Office & Contact Information

Anthony Rendon (Chair) Dem – 63 Contact Assembly Member Anthony Rendon

Capitol Office

P.O. Box 942849, Room 2136, Sacramento, CA 94249-0063; (916) 319-2063
Franklin E. Bigelow (Vice Chair) Rep – 05 Contact Assembly Member Franklin E. Bigelow

Capitol Office

P.O. Box 942849, Room 4116, Sacramento, CA 94249-0005; (916) 319-2005
Travis Allen Rep – 72 Contact Assembly Member Travis Allen

Capitol Office

P.O. Box 942849, Room 5126, Sacramento, CA 94249-0072; (916) 319-2072
Bob Blumenfield Dem – 45 Contact Assembly Member Bob Blumenfield

Capitol Office

P.O. Box 942849, Room 6026, Sacramento, CA 94249-0045; (916) 319-2045
Raul Bocanegra Dem – 39 Contact Assembly Member Raul Bocanegra

Capitol Office

P.O. Box 942849, Room 4167, Sacramento, CA 94249-0039; (916) 319-2039
Brian Dahle Rep – 01 Contact Assembly Member Brian Dahle

Capitol Office

P.O. Box 942849, Room 2174, Sacramento, CA 94249-0001; (916) 319-2001
Paul Fong Dem – 28 Contact Assembly Member Paul Fong

Capitol Office

P.O. Box 942849, Room 5016, Sacramento, CA 94249-0028; (916) 319-2028
Jim Frazier Dem – 11 Contact Assembly Member Jim Frazier

Capitol Office

P.O. Box 942849, Room 3091, Sacramento, CA 94249-0011; (916) 319-2011
Beth Gaines Rep – 06 Contact Assembly Member Beth Gaines

Capitol Office

P.O. Box 942849, Room 2130, Sacramento, CA 94249-0006; (916) 319-2006
Mike Gatto Dem – 43 Contact Assembly Member Mike Gatto

Capitol Office

P.O. Box 942849, Room 2114, Sacramento, CA 94249-0043; (916) 319-2043
Jimmy Gomez Dem -51 Contact Assembly Member Jimmy Gomez

Capitol Office

P.O. Box 942849, Room 2176, Sacramento, CA 94249-0051; (916) 319-2051
Adam C. Gray Dem – 21 Contact Assembly Member Adam C. Gray

Capitol Office

P.O. Box 942849, Room 6012, Sacramento, CA 94249-0021; (916) 319-2021
Jim Patterson Rep – 23 Contact Assembly Member Jim Patterson

Capitol Office

P.O. Box 942849, Room 4102, Sacramento, CA 94249-0023; (916) 319-2023
Anthony Rendon Dem – 63 Contact Assembly Member Anthony Rendon

Capitol Office

P.O. Box 942849, Room 2136, Sacramento, CA 94249-0063; (916) 319-2063
Mariko Yamada Dem – 04 Contact Assembly Member Mariko Yamada

Capitol Office

P.O. Box 942849, Room 5160, Sacramento, CA 94249-0004; (916) 319-2004

 

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