Several environmental groups have sued the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to limit the disposal of spent lead ammunition on public lands in northern Arizona. Ctr. for Biological Diversity v. USFS, No. 12-8176 (D. Ariz. filed 9/5/12). The complaint seeks declaratory and injunctive relief under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act to halt what it alleges to be continued endangerment to wildlife species within the Kaibab National Forest. It alleges that spent lead ammunition disposed of on USFS-administered land presents an “imminent and substantial endangerment to health or the environment” and that condor and other species are particularly susceptible to lead poisoning caused by ingestion of spent ammunition.
USFS manages the national forest, including issuing permits for deer and elk hunting. As part of the permitting process, the agency does not prohibit or restrict the use of lead ammunition. According to the complaint, “[t]he agency has failed to take action to stop the disposal of lead in the form of spent ammunition on Forest Service land,” and the lead contamination “presents serious threats to wildlife.”