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February 23, 2024
Subject:  Support of Maryland’s HB 1473
Dear Delegate:
I am writing to you on behalf of over 2,500 members of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks (Coalition), a non-profit organization composed of retired, former, or current employees of the National Park Service (NPS). The Coalition studies, educates, speaks, and acts for the preservation of America’s National Park System. As a group we collectively represent nearly 45,000 years of experience managing and protecting America’s most precious and important natural and historic resources. Among our members are former NPS directors, regional directors, superintendents, environmental and resource specialists, NEPA practitioners, park rangers, maintenance and administrative staff, and a full array of other former employees, volunteers, and supporters.
We write to urge your active support of HB 1473 (Del. Stewart) to phase out the use of poisonous lead ammunition in sport hunting in Maryland as well as to consider its phase out in fishing. As there are 27 units of the National Park Service within Maryland, we believe the passage of this bill will greatly contribute to the safety and sustainability of a healthy environment for wildlife and humans alike.
We call your attention to recent U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) “station specific” hunting and sport fishing regulations1https://www.regulations.gov/document/FWS-HQ-NWRS-2022-0055-16104  that begin to phase out the recreational use of “lead” on National Wildlife Refuges across the country. In these regulations, the Biden Administration lays the groundwork for additional prohibitions on lead ammunition and fishing tackle. You are also likely aware of S. 41572https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/senate-bill/4157/text?r=2&s=1 , the LEAD Act of 2022, which was introduced by Senator Tammy Duckworth on May 5, 2022. A similar bill, H.R. 4053https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/405/text  had been introduced in the House by Congressman Ted Liu in 2021. S. 4157 would prohibit the use of lead ammunition in units of the National Wildlife Refuge System. However, all of the findings stated in Section 2 of the bill regarding the adverse impacts of lead on human health, the environment, and wildlife are equally applicable to national parks and areas of each state where hunting and fishing occur.
In addition to the numerous studies documenting the impacts of lead on wildlife, there is also abundant peer-reviewed science regarding the negative effects of lead poisoning on humans. Lead exposure is a significant public health concern due to its persistence in the environment. Lead poisoning can affect children, especially in underserved communities globally, according to a study published by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in 2020. Lead poisoning is not just limited to situations involving lead paint or public water systems that still rely on lead pipes. The impacts of lead poisoning on underserved communities can also be connected to hunting and fishing activities since many such communities rely on these resources for subsistence. 
The ecological toll of ongoing lead contamination is completely avoidable as there are equally effective, less toxic alternatives to lead-based ammunition and tackle readily available at comparable cost. Moreover, several counties and states, including California, and many other countries worldwide have successfully banned or severely restricted the use of lead-based recreational ammunition and tackle with little or no negative repercussions or lingering consumer objections.
From a purely conservation and human health perspective, the case for a lead ban is clear. We admire and support your efforts to pass this bill and your efforts to move forward further protecting and conserving the lands and waters of Maryland.
Phil Francis signature.
Philip A. Francis, Jr.
Chair of the Executive Council
Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks
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