On July 2, 2013, the Arizona District Court issued a favorable ruling for hunters in the case of Center for Biological Diversity v. U.S. Forest Service. CBD and other groups had filed suit alleging that the Forest Service had violated several federal laws, including the Resource Conservation Recovery Act, by allowing hunters to use lead ammunition while hunting in the Kaibab National Forest. Plaintiffs claimed that the lead ammunition caused harm to condors and other wildlife that ingest lead from the carcasses of other animals. The Court dismissed case, finding that the Plaintiffs lacked standing. The court explained that because condors could access and ingest lead outside of the forest, the plaintiffs could not be assured that the condors they claimed to enjoy in the forest would not continue to become sick and/or die even if lead ammunition was banned within the Kaibab.
SCI moved to intervene in the case, together with the NRA. NSSF and the State of Arizona also filed motions to intervene. The Court dismissed the case, based on a motion filed by the Forest Service.
Plaintiffs have 60 days to decide whether to appeal the ruling. As it stands, the District Court’s ruling will help make it harder for groups like CBD to attempt to challenge the use of lead ammunition in individual states and/or on specific federal lands as the source of harm for any species that has a broad range.