Senator John ThuneGenerations of South Dakotans have long enjoyed the vast outdoors our state has to offer. Hunting and fishing are integral to our identity as South Dakotans and are a source of pride for many of us. Growing up, my father and mother shared their love and appreciation of the outdoors with my siblings and me. Both hunting and fishing helped teach us patience and perseverance, and enabled us to truly understand the feeling of accomplishment.
To this day, few things can beat the feeling of taking down a pheasant after hours of walking a field, or catching a large Walleye at the end of a long day with few bites.
These activities not only enrich the lives of South Dakotans young and old, they also provide significant economic benefits at the state and local levels. Sportsmen come from across the country to take part in our famous pheasant hunts and to fish our serene rivers and lakes. These tourists bring dollars to our community that support the local tax base and help support our businesses.
Despite the vast benefits that outdoor activities provide-not only in South Dakota, but across the country-hunting and fishing have come under attack from extreme environmentalists. Most recently, these radical groups have filed a law suit to require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ban all traditional lead ammunition and fishing tackle under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976.
As a co-chair of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, I recently introduced legislation that would prohibit the federal government from banning traditional ammunition and fishing tackle. The EPA is already running roughshod over industries throughout our state and my legislation would ensure that the fishing and hunting industry do not also become subject to arbitrary and burdensome federal regulations.
According to industry experts, metallic non-traditional ammunition makes up only one percent of the market share. Banning traditional lead shot would likely increase the cost of ammunition and price sportsmen out of the market.
My legislation would help ensure that future generations of South Dakotans have the same opportunity and access to enjoying the great outdoors that I had growing up. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House and the Senate to move this bill through Congress without delay.