DES MOINES — Gov. Terry Branstad fired a shot at his executive-branch agencies while issuing an order Friday rescinding a ban on lead ammunition by dove hunters.
“We need to make sure that we stop this practice of agencies going beyond what’s been delegated to them and their responsibility,” Branstad said during a Statehouse ceremony.
The executive order clears the way for hunters to use lead shot during Iowa’s 70-day dove-hunting season that opens Sept. 1.
Branstad said the state Natural Resources Commission “clearly” exceeded its authority when it made the decision last July to ban lead shot.
Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, issued a statement condemning what he called a “power grab” by the Iowa governor.
The Legislature had an opportunity to rescind the ban during its recently completed regular session, but the Iowa Senate adjourned Wednesday without considering a House-passed resolution.
Branstad said a majority of senators opposed the ban but the issue did not come up for a vote.
Opponents of the bill say the lead-shot pellets contaminate the environment for other animals and pose a health risk to eagles, while hunting groups say steel shot costs more and doesn’t work as well as lead shot.
Branstad said he could have taken the action last year but he chose to let the Legislature address it during the 2012 session.
When the Senate did not act, the governor used a provision of the Iowa Code that allows him to rescind an adopted rule by executive order within 70 days of the rule becoming effective.