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New Interior head lifts lead ammunition ban in nod to hunters

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New U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Thursday issued an order overturning an Obama administration ban on the controversial use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle used on federal lands and waters, in a nod to hunters and fishermen on his first day on the job.

Zinke, who was a first-term Montana Congressman and a former Navy SEAL, arrived for his first day at work at the Interior Department in Washington on a horse named Tonto escorted by mounted U.S. Park Police officers.

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Zinke, an avid angler and hunter, lifted the lead ammunition ban in one of two secretarial orders, which he said were meant to “expand access to public lands and increase hunting, fishing, and recreation opportunities nationwide.”

President Barack Obama’s Fish and Wildlife Service had issued the lead ban on Jan. 19, one day before the inauguration of President Donald Trump, to protect birds and fish from lead poisoning. The move was met with sharp criticism from the National Rifle Association (NRA), which called it Obama’s “final assault on gun owners’ and sportsmen’s rights.”

The Interior Department, which is in charge of conserving fish, wildlife and their habitat, manages one-fifth of the land in the United States. It employs more than 70,000 people across the United States.

Zinke also signed an order on Thursday that would direct federal agencies to identify areas where recreation and fishing can be expanded and sought recommendations for expanding access to public lands and improving fishing and wildlife habitat.

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“This package of secretarial orders will expand access for outdoor enthusiasts and also make sure the community’s voice is heard,” he said.

The NRA, as well as hunting and fishing groups including the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, National Shooting Sports Foundation, Ducks Unlimited and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership attended the signing of the orders.

Zinke said that fishing, hunting, and other outdoor recreation activities “generate thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity.”

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(Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Sandra Maler)


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‘Martyrdom for snowflakes’: CNN analyst knocks Republicans who desperately wanted to be arrested at protest

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CNN host Don Lemon reported Wednesday evening that many Republicans wanted to be arrested for storming the secure room where the House Intelligence Committee depositions were taking place.

Fox News reporter Chad Pergram tweeted that he was told "there was never any chance [members] who barged into SCIF would be arrested by [capital police], but some members asked to be arrested. They wanted the optic of being frog-marched out of the SCIF in front of TV cameras. That would help w/GOP narrative of Dem process abuse."

https://twitter.com/ChadPergram/status/1187173332682182656

Commentator Wajahat Ali called it the perfect example of "martyrdom for snowflakes."

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Seth Meyers says Republicans storming classified room looked like a protest at a pharmacy that ran out of Viagra

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"Late Night" comedian Seth Meyers couldn't help but lambast the far-right Republicans angry that they're not being included in the depositions ahead of the impeachment hearings.

Wednesday, Republicans stormed a secure room known as a SCIF (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility), because they seemed to misunderstand the difference between a deposition and a hearing. In Congressional hearings, witnesses will be presented for members of the committee to question. In a classified deposition, the witness can give information that is considered classified for security reasons. Oddly, some members who are allowed in the room were also protesting.

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WATCH: CNN’s Don Lemon bursts out laughing over Trump’s new wall in Colorado

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CNN's Don Lemon typically deals with difficult and intense topics at the top of his weekly show. Wednesday night, however, after a serious opener about Syria and ISIS, Lemon broke into hysterics over President Donald Trump's flub saying he would build a border wall on Colorado's border.

"You know why we're going to win New Mexico? Because they want safety on our border. And they didn't have it," said Trump. "And we're building a wall on the border of New Mexico. And we're building a wall in Colorado. We're building a beautiful wall, a big one that really works — you can't get over, you can't get under. And we're building a wall in Texas. And we're not building a wall in Kansas, but they get the benefit of the walls that we just mentioned. And Louisiana's incredible."

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