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Izaak Walton League Agrees to Promote EPA Lead Management Practices at 100 Shooting Ranges Nationwide; Agreement May Lead to Removal of 100,000 Lbs. of Lead Annually

Release Date: 01/17/2003
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(#03004) New York, N.Y. – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christie Whitman today recognized the Izaak Walton League of America Exit EPA disclaimerfor agreeing to promote EPA-recommended best management practices for lead at over 100 of its outdoor shooting ranges. Administrator Whitman, the League and representatives from the shooting range industry signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the League's Arlington-Fairfax chapter, highlighting the League's voluntary efforts to reduce the amount of lead from lead shot and bullets entering the environment. Shooting ranges in the U.S. deposit more than 160 million pounds of lead into the environment annually. The Izaak Walton League's commitment is a major step in the industry's effort to manage lead from spent ammunition at ranges nationwide. Administrator Whitman also presented a plaque to the League for its efforts.

"Lead exposure poses serious health risks, especially to the most vulnerable in society – our children," said Administrator Whitman. "The good news is that if lead is managed properly and exposure minimized, the environmental and health risks are greatly reduced. Today, the Izaak Walton League is demonstrating its environmental leadership by joining with us to address these health and environmental risks, and is setting an important example for other ranges and organizations around the country to follow."

"This is an amazing opportunity," said Paul Hansen, the League's executive director. "The League is in a position to emerge as one of the leaders in promoting environmental stewardship at shooting ranges."

With the help of shooting sports organizations and the shooting range industry, EPA created its Best Management Practices for Lead at Outdoor Ranges manual to address concerns that accumulated lead from shot and bullets may pose a risk to the environment and human health. Since the manual was published in 2001, shooting ranges nationwide have expressed a strong interest in adopting these practices. The manual has received widespread accolades: a European shooting trade association has published a handbook on the same topic based on EPA's manual, which holds up EPA's publication as a "model for other countries."

The Izaak Walton League is the first organization to sign a formal Memorandum of Understanding with EPA to promote environmental stewardship at its ranges. The League will work with EPA and the National Association of Shooting Ranges to develop a sample Environmental Stewardship Plan that each of the League's ranges could modify and adopt. In 2001, Orvis Sandanona, located in Millbrook, New York and the oldest licensed shooting preserve in the nation, also adopted EPA's recommended best management practices for lead at outdoor ranges.

EPA's efforts to promote environmental practices at shooting ranges complement the Agency's Resource Conservation Challenge, which calls on all Americans to reduce, reuse and recycle goods to decrease the use of new natural resources. EPA's best management practices for outdoor ranges call for reclaiming lead and recycling it into new shot and bullets. This reduces the amount of virgin lead that must be mined. As EPA's recommended practices grow in popularity across the nation, the Agency expects to see an increase in lead reclamation and a reduction in the threat lead from ranges poses to the environment.

Best Management Practices for Lead at Outdoor Ranges may be downloaded for free at the EPA Web site or call (212) 637-4145 to have one sent by mail.