Nava says that he would like to see the ban expand beyond condor habitat, starting with state-owned uplands favoured by hunters. On 7 June, the CBD filed a lawsuit to require the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ban lead ammunition, but the agency maintains that it lacks the legal authority to do so.
Despite general acceptance in the United States for the need to restrict lead in nearly all commercial products, the National Rifle Association (NRA), based in Washington DC, says that applying such rules to ammunition would infringe US gunowners’ rights. “We’d look at it as an anti-gun move,” said Susan Recce, the NRA’s director of conservation, wildlife and natural resources. The NRA is lobbying for legislation that would prevent any EPA intervention.
Finkelstein says that the problem has to be addressed somehow, or the California condors will never recover. “We’re spending an exorbitant amount of time tracking, trapping and hospitalizing these condors to manage their lead poisoning episodes,” she says. “It’s just not an effective way to go about this problem.”