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2017 Legislature and Lead


            The 2017 Minnesota Legislature took many steps backwards, against Minnesotans’ efforts to improve our environment and protect our natural resources. Chapter 93, the Omnibus (or “Ominous”, as we call it) Environment and Natural Resources bill, contains two provisions regarding lead in the environment. 

            First, the law states, “Until July 1, 2019, the commissioner of natural resources shall not adopt rules further restricting the use of lead shot.”  Although this law does not restrict the DNR from adopting rules banning lead bullets, the DNR has shown no sign of moving forward with rules on lead bullets.

            Second, as if we needed more studies, the statute allocates $30,000 to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) “... for a study of lead shot deposition on state lands.”  The report must be provided to the legislature by March 1, 2018.

            Perhaps the DNR’s 2018 report will convince the legislature to change its mind.  Please contact your representative and senator and ask to them repeal the 2017 law and allow the DNR to move forward with rule-making to ban lead ammunition (bullets and shot) in Minnesota.

            Thank you.

DNR urged to include all SNA's in rules for non-toxic ammunition.

                                                                 Commissioner’s Advisory Committee on Natural Heritage 

                                                                          Minnesota Department of Natural Resources 

                                                                       Box 25, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155 

25 August 2016


Tom Landwehr 

Commissioner of Natural Resources 

500 Lafayette Road 

St. Paul, MN 55155


Dear Commissioner:


At the August 3 meeting of the Commissioner’s Advisory Committee on Natural Heritage (CAC), the committee discussed the use of lead shot and other lead-based ammunition in Scientific and Natural Areas (SNAs). This was a discussion CAC had put on hold during the last legislative session to see if the legislature would limit the rule-making authority of the DNR. The legislation was not enacted, so CAC felt our comments were past due.


CAC strongly urges you to include SNAs in the rule-making process for the required use of non-toxic shot on farmland zone WMAs. This will both provide added protection to the affected SNAs and make the regulations consistent among WMAs, SNAs, and WPAs. 

Further, CAC also strongly urges the Department to allow only non-toxic ammunition on all SNAs.


If lead-based ammunition cannot be eliminated for all hunting on SNAs, CAC recommends that hunters be encouraged to use non-toxic ammunition through all possible means including notices in the annual Hunting Regulation Book and by signage at the individual SNAs that are open to hunting. This level of stewardship would demonstrate the Department’s commitment to conserving the high-quality habitats and rare species that are found on the sites.



John J. Moriarty, Chair 

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