Neighbors of Oregon Gun Club Threaten to Sue Over Lead Debris

Neighbors of Oregon Gun Club Threaten to Sue Over Lead DebrisThe Ashland Gun Club is taking heat from people living around it for the lead shot, shells and clay target debris that reportedly litter the ground and are contaminating the water. The neighbors claim there is an "imminent and substantial endangerment" to the environment, Oregon Live reports.

According to the news source, the time has come for the Ashland City Council to decide whether or not they will renew the gun clubs lease on city land, as this is not the first time the complaint has been raised.

Chuck Parlier, the club's president, said that removing the lead from the fields is certainly a priority, but that he won't consider taking on the expensive renovation and clean-up work unless the lease is renewed.

"We've been negotiating for quite a while," he told the media outlet. "We've been there 43 years, long before anyone thought lead was a problem."

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), lead is a toxic substance that can cause serious health defects such as reproductive problems, high blood pressure, memory problems, nerve disorders and muscle and joint pain. It can be ingested or inhaled and is found in many items, including the ammunition used at the gun range.

The EPA estimates that shooting at gun clubs contributes to "untold millions" of pounds of lead in the soil every year, and can kill ducks and geese if they ingest shotgun pellets.

Neighbors of the club are also worried about the risk of lead-contaminated water, which happens once the lead oxidizes and leaks into groundwater.

The news provider states that despite lead's known adverse health effects, regulation is still uneven. Lead found in bullets and shotgun pellets is not considered hazardous until a gun range shuts down. Then, the lead left behind is labeled hazardous and legally must be removed.

Residents and attorneys in Ashland are claiming that because of the club's proximity to wetlands and Emigrant creek, contamination of the water source has already occurred, and the club has violated the federal Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

According to Oregon Live, gun clubs across the country are facing similar problems, and have appeased the situation by performing the expensive toxic substance abatement procedures, dodging lawsuits and citations from regulating agencies.