If this topic affects you, please contact Dale Garner (email@example.com) to express your concern. Use the subject line "NIOSC gun range Sioux Center Iowa".
Here is a portion of my letter:
Lead poisoning is a dangerous problem, especially to children under 6 years old. The symptoms include irritability, learning difficulties, and fatigue. These symptoms can be easily confused with other problems or be ignored, meaning that children can suffer for extended periods of time without being diagnosed. Lead poisoning can cause miscarriage or premature birth for pregnant women.Widespread lead contamination has been documented from shooting ranges. For example, the Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Delaware had contamination levels in the groundwater of 400 micrograms to 1 milligram per liter due to a shooting range in the area. The Sandy Hollow area is at risk for lead contamination since the west branch of the Floyd River runs through the area, and there are frequent floods that would contribute to the lead spreading downstream, soaking into the soil, or reaching the groundwater. The floods often reach over farmland nearby or downstream, and it seems that this poses a risk to farmers, livestock, and possibly even to the food supply. The EPA states that shooting ranges should not be near water for this reason.As a parent I watch my child very closely, but as there is no fence planned around the edge of the shooting range, and guns might be shot very close to the borders and driveway of the property, I worry that my curious child might come into contact with lead pellets in the soil near the borders of the shooting area while taking a walk. I know that simply touching a lead pellet once is not likely to harm a child, but there is a definite risk for children who might accidentally ingest the lead. Even with close supervision, children tend to put objects and dirt in their mouths, or eat food that has been dropped in dirt. Children who live in the area could also be exposed to long term contamination through water or soil.The noise level is another concern to me as a mom of young children, since the noise levels along the driveway at the edge of the property (estimated to be around 100 db) are high enough to cause hearing loss. Even in neighborning residential areas, the noise would be loud enough to disrupt outdoor activities, and would be concentrated in the times that people would want to spend outdoors.If a shooting range is to be built in the Sioux County area, a site should be found that follows current expert recommendations: it should be a half mile or more to the nearest residence as recommended by the NRA (currently there are over 25 residences within a half mile of Sandy Hollow), the noise level should be 55 decibels or less at the property line as recommended by the NRA (at the Sandy Hollow site noise levels are estimated to be around 100 decibels at the property line), and the shooting range should not be near water, as recommended by the EPA. It would also be sensible to find a site that does not interfere with other healthy outdoor recreation and exercise such as fishing, biking, camping, running, walking, picnicking, photography, swimming and more.The current plan would benefit only a few, while having a negative impact on many and causing risk to the smallest and most vulnerable.The shooting range was designed by a DNR employee, and would depend on funding from the DNR, but as you can see it goes against the DNR's mission to enhance the quality of life and preserve natural resources. Please act to prevent this gun range from being built.