Safari Club International was one of nearly twenty pro-hunting organizations invited to meet with Secretary Ryan Zinke on his first day at work as Secretary of the Interior. The Secretary went right to work, issuing two important orders that benefit the hunting community.
First, the Secretary revoked Dan Ashe’s last minute Director’s Order that directed the phase-out of traditional lead-based ammunition and fishing tackle use on all 81 million acres of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lands and waters by 2022. Former FWS Director Ashe issued Director’s Order 219 on the last day of the Obama Administration, imposing severe ammunition restrictions without input from the states, the public, and ammunition and tackle manufacturers.
Ashe’s Order had failed to take into account the harm that eliminating lead-based ammunition could cause to wildlife conservation and habitat management programs supported by the sales of firearms and ammunition. It ignored the question of whether adequate and affordable ammunition would be available to substitute for lead-based ammunition. The former Director’s measures would have seriously undermined hunting and the important role it plays in wildlife conservation. In issuing Director’s Order 219, Ashe sought to impose Obama Administration prejudices into FWS management of lands for the next five years and beyond. Instead, Secretary Zinke returned science and reason to federal decision-making about ammunition use.
Second, the Secretary directed the Assistant Secretaries for Fish, Wildlife and Parks and for Land and Minerals Management to report on the progress of the FWS’s efforts to comply with Executive Order 13443, Facilitation of Hunting Heritage and Wildlife Conservation. The order also included consultation with the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council and Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council. The Secretary committed to designating an appointee to coordinate the activities of the Department, the two Councils, and their designated federal officers.
SCI was front and center on this historic first day. SCI’s Director of Litigation, Anna Seidman, had a prime spot, right at Secretary Zinke’s elbow, to witness the signing of these important orders for the hunting community. SCI looks forward to working with the Secretary and the agencies within the Department of the Interior as they carry out the Secretary’s vision.