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Oklahoma City water utilities trust bans lead shot from shooting range

The Water Utilities Trust voted Tuesday to ban lead shot from a shooting range, a move that could force the range owner out of business.
by William Crum Published: April 17, 2013

Pete White, chairman of the Water Utilities Trust and the city council member who represents the area, said he was convinced other issues could be managed and that his vote came down to concerns about the effect of lead shot on wildlife.

Lead shot lying on the ground can be consumed by waterfowl, poisoning the birds and making them easy pickings for predators, such as eagles, which then ingest the lead.

White said he had extensively studied the issues — noise, threats from lead to water quality and to birds — and read stacks of comments arguing for and against the range.

“This is very personal to me,” he said. “I've tried to make up my mind so I can live with myself at the end of the day.”

Trust members voted 3-1 to forbid lead shot. Vice Chairman Carl Edwards and City Manager James Couch joined White, while Pat Ryan, who sits with White on the city council, voted no. Cody Graves was absent.

Trust members then voted 4-0 to defer further action until May 7 while Martin decides what to do. Should Martin agree to the ban on lead shot, the Water Utilities Trust would vote on a new lease. The city council would make the final decision.

Opponents of the proposed new site found reason for optimism in the decisions.

“We're thinking that this is very good for us,” said Carolyn Pimsler, who lives off SE 104 Street, north and west of where the range would relocate.

by William Crum
OU and Norman High School graduate, formerly worked as a reporter and editor for the Associated Press, the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, and the Norman Transcript. Married, two children, lives in Norman.
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