After having little success convincing the Environmental Protection Agency to restrict the use of lead-based ammunition, environmentalists filed a federal suit against the EPA late Thursday, claiming exposure to the spent bullets is killing millions of birds and poses risk to human health.
In April, the EPA told more than 100 environmental groups that the federal agency had no jurisdiction to regulate lead in ammo because ammunition was specifically exempted in the Toxic Substances Control Act. Additionally, hunting groups and ammunition makers argued that lead alternatives were too expensive and the threats to birds and animals were not extensive.
But environmentalists say million of birds, including bald eagles and endangered California condors, are poisoned each year by scavenging lead-contaminated carcasses or from ingesting spent lead-shot pellets.
"We have no anti-hunting agenda. In fact, we think a lot of hunters don't want their bullets to continue killing long after an animal is shot," said Jeff Miller, a conservation advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity.