Lead contamination remains a significant issue at outdoor shooting ranges, prompting environmental law citizen suits

Read the full story at JD Supra.

Spent lead ammunition at outdoor shooting ranges remains a significant environmental topic, as accumulated lead can pose a threat to human health and the environment if best management practices are not implemented in a timely fashion to minimize the impact. Lead contamination is a known issue in the shooting community, remains an issue at ranges in many states, and has resulted in several recent major, sometimes multi-million dollar, remediation efforts. In 2021, the owners and operators of a Maryland shooting range settled a citizen lawsuit on the condition that the owners address the existing lead in the soil, surface water and wetlands, redirect certain shooting stations away from wetlands, and conduct regular sampling to check for contamination.

With that said, the civilian outdoor shooting range industry remains largely unregulated. In 2001, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“USEPA”) developed a guidance manual called The Best Management Practices for Lead at Outdoor Shooting Ranges (EPA-902-B-01-001; revised in June 2005) (the “BMP Guidance”). 

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