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Home / Iowa Sierra Club files suit in flap over dove lead shot
DES MOINES (AP) - The Iowa chapter of environmental group Sierra Club has filed a lawsuit challenging a legislative committee in the dispute over the use of lead shot for Iowa dove hunting.
The club said Wednesday that the Iowa law creating the Legislature's Administrative Rules Review Committee is unconstitutional.
The club also said the committee overstepped the separation of powers in the state constitution when it delayed implementation of the ban on the use of lead shot in hunting mourning doves adopted last July by the Natural Resources Commission, an executive branch agency.
“We have three separate and equal branches of government,” said Wally Taylor, the Cedar Rapids attorney representing the Sierra Club, in a statement. “The legislative branch through the ARRC cannot constitutionally stop the actions of the executive branch acting through the Natural Resources Commission.”
The Iowa Legislature last year passed a bill, which was signed by Gov. Terry Branstad that permitted hunting mourning doves. The law allowed the commission to establish the rules around how the hunting would be permitted.
The commission banned lead shot, which angered some lawmakers who said the commission overstepped its authority.
Opponents of the bill believe the pellets contaminate the environment for other animals while hunting groups say steel shot costs more and doesn't work as well as lead shot.
The Administrative Rules Review Committee in August voted to delay the implementation of the Natural Resources Commission's rule to give Legislature time to come back this session and amend the law to allow lead shot.
The bill passed the House in February but has not yet come before the Senate. It could still be called up for debate, and if it is not passed this session, the lead shot ban will again go into effect.
The mourning dove season typically begins around Sept. 1 and is open for 70 days. A spokesman for the Iowa Attorney General's Office declined to comment on the lawsuit because the office hadn't yet seen it.
The Senate chairman of the rules review committee and the vice chairwoman in the House did not immediately return calls seeking comment.