The Sierra Club is suing a legislative committee in hopes of renewing a ban that would prevent hunters from using lead shot during dove hunting season.

The Natural Resources Commission voted last summer to ban lead shot during dove hunting season, but the Legislature’s Administrative Rules Review Committee intervened, putting that rule on hold and letting legislators decide the issue earlier this year. The House has passed a bill that would allow lead shot during dove hunting season, but the Senate has not yet acted on the proposal.

The lawsuit argues it’s a violation of the state constitution’s separation of powers to have legislators pass laws, then get to override the rules executive branch agencies write to implement those laws. Niela Seaman of the Sierra Club’s Iowa chapter says constitution stipulates the legislature passes laws and the executive branch implements them.

“We have thought for a long time that there was no need for the Administrative Rules Review Committee because it oversteps its bounds,” Seaman says.

Seaman argues the Natural Resources Commission made the right decision in banning lead shot and requiring “non-toxic” steel shot.

“When dove hunters go out and shoot lead shot at these birds, not all the lead shot goes into the bird,” Seaman says. “Some of it stays on the ground and, in our opinion, the toxins are left there for other wildlife, other birds. It can get into the water — groundwater — and run off into the surface water.”

The Iowa legislature voted last spring to legalize dove hunting in Iowa and the first season was last fall.