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For a number of years, litigation and enforcement actions have been filed to require shooting and sports clubs to remediate the adverse environmental impact from the presence of lead shot in rivers, bays, and estuaries. See, for example, the frequently cited Connecticut Coastal Fishermen's Ass'n v. Remington Arms Co., 989 F.2d 1305 (2nd Cir. 1993). A recent example of the extreme adverse impact of this sporting activity is U.S. v. Broadkiln Sportsman Club, Docket No. 1:08-00762 (D. Del.: 10/08) [the CERCLA complaint can be found at http://www.usdoj.gov/enrd/ConsentDecrees/871__Broadkiln_Sportsman_Club_ComplaintFinal.pdf]. The settlement was noticed at 73 Fed. Reg. 63,511 [the consent decree can be found at http://www.usdoj.gov/enrd/ConsentDecrees/871_Broadkiln_Sportsman_Club_CDFinal.pdf]. Lead shot impacted a 22-acre area. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service spent nearly $1 million cleaning up lead contamination on a section of the Prime Hook Wildlife Refuge that was adjacent to the club; it is anticipated that future costs in an unspecified amount will be incurred (e.g., installing monitoring wells to characterize the migration of contaminated groundwater). The concern of the U.S.F.&W.S. was the impact of lead upon waterfowl. Under the terms of the consent decree, the club will use its best efforts over the next 18 months to sell its property; 75% of the proceeds will be provided to the United States to offset the costs incurred. Should there be no sale, then the U.S. reserves the right to unilaterally order that the property be sold at auction. Additionally, the club assigned its insurance benefits to the U.S.
It is interesting that the DOJ enforces these same laws that its FBI is violating near Chicago. There, the federal executive discharges lead into water in violation of the CWA, RCRA, and public nuisance.
See 08-c-320 in the Northern District of Illinois and 08-3857 on appeal with the 7th Circuit.
Steven Pollack, Director
Blue Eco Legal Council