New EPA Regs Force Last Lead Smelter in USA to Close

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According to TFB, the final source for lead in the United States will be forced to shut down thanks to the new EPA standards that the Obama administration is mandating. Apparently the facility would cost $100 million to bring up to code, and the company that runs it would rather strip the site and sell it than spend the money to refurbish it. From STL Today . . .

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said the company “made a business decision” to shut down the smelter instead of installing pollution control technologies needed to reduce sulfur dioxide and lead emissions as required by the Clean Air Act.

The Doe Run Co. announced last year that it had dropped plans to build a new lead processing facility in Herculaneum that would have used a new, cleaner lead production technology. The company cited the $100 million project as too financially risky.

As I said, this was the final lead production facility in the United States. Its location was one of the prime reasons that the Lake City arsenal and other ammunition manufacturers have established themselves nearby, to keep shipping costs down. But with the lead no longer flowing, the next most viable source will be China and require substantially more money to truck overseas for production.

This will also be a big headache for range facilities, since some of them use the reclaimed lead from the dirt berms to pay the bills. There are companies in the United States that will actually pay the range to come in and refurbish their berms, giving them a percentage of the money they make selling the reclaimed lead back to this smelting facility. MCB Quantico operates their ranges this way, closing down once every four years for a re-fit that pays for a lot of the ranges’ services. Now that they will need to ship that lead overseas before it is processed, that will make the whole business more expensive and might drive up range fees.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the price of ammunition jumps as well. Heck, this might even kick off a second ammo shortage if things go badly.

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About Nick Leghorn

Nick Leghorn is a gun nerd living and working in San Antonio, Texas. In his free time, he's a competition shooter (USPSA, 3-gun and NRA High Power), aspiring pilot, and enjoys mixing statistics and science with firearms. Now on sale: Getting Started with Firearms by yours truly!

120 Responses to New EPA Regs Force Last Lead Smelter in USA to Close

  1. avatardwb says:

    because, lead production is SO MUCH cleaner in China. These policies amount to: its fine if we destroy the environment, as long as its the Chinese environment.

    • avatarPulatso says:

      Oh, they don’t care if it’s our environment, just as long as someone else does it. We can’t drill in the gulf, but we can buy oil from South American companies who do. All the risk (whatever great or small that may be), none of the benefit of producing our own oil.

    • avatarBlue says:

      It isn’t about that. Barry et al. can regulate the crap out of lead being important into the U.S.A. in a number of ways.

      • avatardaniel says:

        this has nothing to do with pollution it has to do with more exspensive if not impossible to get domestic ammo?? what good is a gun with no ammo??

      • avatarMark says:

        Hey, all you slobbering teabagger wingnuts, this shit happened under your hero GW

        Doe Run made significant efforts to reduce lead emissions from the smelter, but in 2008 the federal Environmental Protection Agency issued new National Ambient Air Quality Standards for lead that were 10 times tighter than the previous standard. Given the new lead air quality standard, Doe Run made the decision to close the Herculaneum smelter.

        That said 2008, who was the POS President in 2008 you ask???? Asshats

        • avatarforleadsmeltering says:

          Hey Shitbag, guess what.. its all about gun control, erosion of our civil liberties, & ultimately the fall of the USA. Same group of people took down Imperialist Russia & turned it into a commie shit hole…… It doesn’t matter which side of the fence the politic body sits, they are all communists doing anything they can to destroy america

      • Really? I mean I don’t like the acting pres any more than the next AK owner, but seriously, regulate the lead coming in from china? We don’t do that now! With all the chinese lead shipped to us in our dog’s treats, our tools and our kids chinese made toys, we could cast enough bullets for everyone to last generations. Remember that its about money, not ideology. Whether they want to admit it or not, the current white house occupant is the best friend the arms and ammo industry has ever had. I’ll just have to keep buying Russian ammo. No US lead in that, but I bet its price will go up as distributors and retailers smell our fear.

  2. avatarSixpack70 says:

    Tinfoil hat time! Was this something that was already going to happen, or was this another screw gun owners over through EO idea? How many people are losing their jobs and what are the jobs ripple effect?

    • avatardwb says:

      the obummer admin is not specifically targeting lead, they are targeting just about everything. they want all nasty manufacturing, coal production, and so on, moved overseas.

      • avatarModel 31 says:

        Can’t grow the welfare roster with all those jobs hanging around.

        • avatarMothaLova says:

          boy, ain’t that the truth. the obama administration’s interest is in making sure that as many americans as possible cannot live without direct government help of some kind.

        • avatarSouthern Cross says:

          The question is who pays for the welfare handouts? Big business won’t because they exploit the tax system to pay less than 5% tax. The wealthy won’t because they can offshore money and exploit many of the same loopholes big business use. The only other source is small-medium business and the remaining wage earners (now called bourgious exploiters of the masses).

    • avatardaniel says:

      yes d;ckhead this is tinfoil hat time.. laugh all you want .. have fun in camp fema ..brain washed idiot

  3. avatarDirk Diggler says:

    2016 cannot come fast enough . . . . .

    • avatarAndy says:

      They said that about 2012 and a bunch of crybabies sat out the elections and handed BHO a second term.

      • avatarAvid Reader says:

        Sad but true.

      • avatarWayneMHK says:

        Yeah. I’m still amazed at that. WTF?

      • avatarneiowa says:

        Until the GOP insiders/RINOs get a clue/die this is not going to change. Run RINOs in ill fated attempt to attract the idiot “undecided”/middle-of-the-road/fencestraddlers and all you do is drive off the conservative base. NO GOP candiddate is going get elected President without the conservative base. The ship has sailed on RINO candidates. As long a idiot Rove (and his ilk) is able to milking millions from the RINOs the GOP will keep running Romney/Dole/McCain/etc

        • avatarMarlon Jackson says:

          Given that there were two really only two options, I’ll take a RINO over a BHO any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

        • avatarMothaLova says:

          Exactly right, Neiowa. As if Romney of all people was going to reign in government at all, much less the EPA. Romney loved the EPA.

          He lost because he deserved to lose. He couldn’t show that he was a serious alternative to Obama, and he couldn’t bring himself to talk about anything except the economy. It turns out that voters care about a lot more than that.

      • avatarMothaLova says:

        Andy – Voting for guys like Romney is what got us into this mess in the first place. As I wrote below, Nixon created the EPA , Bush I signed the Clean Air Act, and Bush II and the Republican Congress couldn’t bring themselves to do anything about it for the six years they had full control of the government. Romney would have been part of the same problem – and if Obama weren’t president now, the next Democratic president would do what Obama’s doing now. So long as Republicans not only accept but actively promote liberal policies, then we will continue to suffer actions like the most recent one by the EPA.

    • avatarBlue says:

      @JWhite: Romney may be a joke. However, Barry is a nightmare of a Bolshevik ass-clown.

      • avatarMothaLova says:

        Right – but Democrats get excited for Bolshevik clowns, and Republicans don’t get excited for jokes. It’s not enough just to vote against the other guy. Republican voters need a candidate they can trust to fight for their views.

    • avatardaniel says:

      do you really think we will last untill 2016?? after more false flag BS your king O ,WILL DECLARE MARTIAL LAW AND PRONOUNCE HIMSELF A DICTATOR

  4. avatarTom in Oregon says:

    Oh boy. This is going to really jack the price of ammo. Get ready folks.

    • avatarPatrick says:

      I know, and to think that the only reason for this was love for the planet.
      Who could have ever expected such shocking, unpredictable changes in the market because of something so innocent as “common sense” state regulations to make us all healthy and save some species of animal.

      Ok, I’m done. Honestly, I don’t know the scientific claims behind this, but I’d be surprised if this wasn’t in some way supported more by the disarmament crowd than the environmental regulations crowd.

      • avatarJim R says:

        The two often walk hand in hand. So the answer is yes.

      • avatarJus Bill says:

        The one inconvenient fact that the tree huggers are blind to is that lead is a NATURALLY OCCURRING element. It comes from the ground, where it was deposited by nature, not from recycled bullets or batteries. IT IS NOT MANUFACTURED LIKE VIRGIN PLASTIC.

        Unintended side effect: Need a new battery for your car? Be prepared for it to cost more to buy and be prepared for a big jump in the “recycling fee.” Right now 95% of the lead used in car batteries is recycled, and nearly all of that lead comes from – car batteries! Bullet lead makes up a tiny fraction of that lead, if any. Its recycled by the smelter that’s shutting down. Thanks, EPA. Dumbasses.

        • avatarSouthern Cross says:

          The problem is the tree-huggers are confusing metallic lead for tetra-ethyl lead. The former is a metallic compound that doesn’t get absorbed by the body, so they just pass through. Tetra-Ethyl Lead is the organic lead compound formerly used in fuels, paints, and other chemicals, an this IS the lead that causes problems in the environment. The rest of the issue is to do with by-products of the manufacturing processes.

  5. avatarPulatso says:

    Reloading gets more and more attractive.

    • avatarJack says:

      Pretty sure this will drive up reloading costs as well. Even if you cast your own bullets the lead came from something.

      Reloading is always cheaper in dollars but can also be expensive in time/space and initial investment.

      • avatarPulatso says:

        True, but I have family that handloads extensively, I have access to all the equipment I need, just have to supply my own time and materials, and maybe buy a die if it’s for a caliber they don’t load.

    • avataruncommon_sense says:

      Reloading doesn’t do much good if you cannot get lead bullets to reload — or if the price of the lead bullets doubles.

      • avatarPulatso says:

        Except if you cast your own bullets and have access to scrap lead.

        • avatarJack says:

          Good thing every American has access to scrap lead.

          These politicians are insane. Fighting for womens access to abortion (not arguing about that here, just pointing out the hypocrisy) and looking to subsidize that right.

          Whereas those exercising their 2nd amendment right wont be having access to ammunition. Where are my ammo subsidies huh? We’re fighting over scraps!!

        • avatarDavidT says:

          If you are thinking about wheel weights think again. They have been mostly zinc for several years now and most tire places won’t sell to a private buyer (EPA regs again). You might have some luck haunting the smaller, independent shops but you’ll have to sort the zinc out before you melt the rest.

  6. avatardwb says:

    incidentally… isn’t this some kind of national security risk, having all the lead for bullets smelted overseas?

  7. avatarCubby123 says:

    Clueless idiots running the country,what do you expect.This way we can buy our lead from china and not import it to Calfornia,and let everybody except ourselves drill for oil so we can buy it and import it ,and we can send all our jobs overseas and let them import their products tariff free so our quality of life goes down and we can eventually all get jobs at Walmart and soon our country will be owned by everybody else except us as our national debt soars and the libatards will run the country so no common sense will be common sense!
    Don’t you see the logic in all this ? What’s wrong with you? Don’t you want this? Doesn’t “common sense” gun laws just make sense? Why do you need a gun,?why do you need to defend yourself?why do you need an ar-15 ?,won’t a slingshot make you happy?Why do you need food comrad,can’t you get goulash from the commons tub like the rest of the comrads?
    You don’t need lead,you don’t even need bullets,just get killed and be happy about it,comrad!

  8. avatarAndy says:

    East Penn Manufacturing, in Lyons PA still has an EPA approved and operating lead smelter.

    • avatarDavid says:

      Nick or anyone else, confirm?

      • avatarTom in Oregon says:

        I see they manufacture batteries and such, but their website doesn’t mention smeltering.
        Also mentions recycling lead. I suppose this is a type of smeltering, but, when you call yourself a recycler, you’re not contributing to “global warming” or gouging “mother earth” or ruining rainbows, or discoloring unicorns, or…
        ok, sorry. I’ll stop ranting.

      • avatarMike says:

        Confirmed. I work for East Penn.

    • avatarStinkeye says:

      There are two kinds of smelters: primary smelters produce lead from raw ore, and secondary smelters reprocess scrap back into clean lead. Doe Run was the last primary smelter, but there are still several secondary smelters operating in the U.S. So the whole bit about range fees going up and so on seems pretty unlikely – there’s still several places left in the U.S. that will recycle your lead for you without shipping it to China.

      It probably will have an effect on the price of lead, though, since Doe Run was a pretty big operation. The supply of lead will decrease, so prices will go up. How much is anyone’s guess.

      • avatarMark N. says:

        And secondary smelting does not have the environmental impact of primary smelting. I still remember when environmental controls were required for all the steel smelting in Gary Indiana-and those regs had a tremendous impact on air quality. Smelting is a dirty business. Even the slag can be toxic.
        Yes lead occurs naturally in the environment–but lead smelting releases lots of toxic gasses into the air as fine particulates, a very different circumstance than lead in the earth. What we will see now is importation, not of finished lead products, but lead ingots for reprocessing.

        • avatarJus Bill says:

          I agree, we’ll certainly see importation of “virgin” lead ingots. Sadly, I have no idea how much of that lead will be used in bullet production vs battery and other lead manufacturing. One thing is for sure though, when the supply chain is disrupted, prices will always rise.

  9. avatarSkyler says:

    Hmmm. Sounds fishy. They still make lead batteries in this country, last I heard.

  10. avatarGreg in Allston says:

    This would seem to present an entrepreneurial and venture capital opportunity for some enterprising investors. The article states that US smelted lead production is 440,000 tonnes annually. I’ll assume for the moment that all of the smelting here in the US comes from that one facility in MO. The article further states that it will cost the operators of that facility $100million to retrofit the facility to comply with EPA regulations. The current global commodity price for Pb has been in the $2k – $2.17k / tonne range over the course of the last year or so. To recoup the $100M investment in one year the operators of the facility would need to increase the price / tonne roughly 11%. It would be much less if the costs of the retrofit were amortized over a number of years. I thinks that’s a manageable prospect for the right group of investors.

    As other readers have noted, yes, commodities such as Pb are indeed of important interest to our national security. As we’ve seen with other commodities like rare earth metals, the US becomes vulnerable when we rely on other nations to supply these materials. Global markets and US regulations being what they are, it is vital to our national security that this nation explore and seek out domestic sources for many strategic materials.

    • avataruncommon_sense says:

      Hey Greg,

      Several sources report that there are about 100 million firearms owners in the United States. I am pretty confident that at least half of those 100 million firearm owners would happily donate $2 to the smelting facility to keep it in operation. Now that would be a giant middle finger to the EPA and our Emperor in Chief!

      • avataruncommon_sense says:

        Ooh. And think about the public relations possibilities. We know how the mainstream media love to demonize firearms owners. What if those “evil” firearms owners donated the money to keep the only facility capable of processing lead in the United States in operation — an extremely important strategic element of national defense?

        This would enable us “evil” firearms owners to show the masses that we are an integral part of our nation’s defense, both in terms of arms and our financial support of a key strategic element of our nation’s defensive manufacturing and logistics.

        • avatarSivartius says:

          I can see the headlines now “Gun Owners Hate the Environment”. Not that I’m against the idea. I would pony up $20 myself.

        • avatarTom in Oregon says:

          Nah. walk with me, outside the box….
          Gun owners contribute to increased shielding of nuclear reactors, making the environment safer.
          Gun owners, assist hospital radiology units to increase patient safety.
          There, now sing kumbayah with me while we head to the LGS.

        • avatarSivartius says:

          Yeah. But that’s not the headline the New York Times will run. Not when mine is so much jucier.

  11. avatarThomas Paine says:

    Only 20% of the world’s lead goes to non-battery products. The logic is simple, invest taxpayer money into electric car companies, then jack up the price for batteries. Elementary.

    • avatarAndy says:

      There is very little lead in hybrid car batteries. Most of those metals are mined in Canada and processed in China. It’s a highly toxic process that only the Chinese welcomes.

    • avatarneiowa says:

      Evil gasoline/diesel vehicles are the users of lead-acid batteries. Obumer tools WANT to get rid of dinofuel burners.

  12. avatarHank says:

    How is closing the last lead manufacturer and buying now from China not a national security issue???

  13. avataruncommon_sense says:

    This is outrageous. Seriously. We must have at least one domestic facility with the ability to process lead for national defense reasons. If World War III started heaven forbid, we must be able to manufacture ammunition in the United States without depending on foreign countries.

    We really need to rattle some cages of the appropriate members of the House and Senate. Our government has stated that certain financial institutions are “too big to fail”. Well we cannot close our only remaining lead processing facility.

  14. avatarBigred2989 says:

    Gun owners should put up a kickstarter campaign to at least let the company know that people in America are either willing to support the costs of the refit or they have confidence that the company will come out of this financial dip fine in a few years. Granted it’s their money and their bet they would ultimately have to make though.

    • avatarJack says:

      Would be more effective if we started kickstarters to support those against the democrats doing this.

      I don’t support paying for refitting I don’t deem necessary. I support kicking these jerks out of office.

      • avatarWayneMHK says:

        I support closing the EPA, among others.

        • avatarHannibal says:

          You guys go ahead with your fantasies and tell me how that works out. Hint: the same it’s worked out for the past few electoral cycles.

        • avatarAngry AZ says:

          + 1000

        • avatarMothaLova says:

          Hannibal – I think your argument has no basis in fact. Or perhaps you could point me to the last GOP presidential candidate who ran on abolishing the EPA. I’d have to check, but the last one to include a serious attack on the EPA in his campaign was Reagan, I believe. And he did rather well in the elections.

        • avatarHasdrubal says:

          Didn’t Rick Perry want to get rid of them? Would have helped if he could remember the whole line in the debate, but it didn’t work well the way it came out.

  15. avatarSkyler says:

    It’s my understanding that military equipment must be procured from US sources. In fact, the army had to get a waiver when they made everyone wear those froofroo berets because they said they could only be made in China.

    Lead is used in bullets. Bullets are needed by the military. I think something is missing from this story.

    • avatarJack says:

      As long as the chinese lead/bullets is assembled into ammunition in the US, then they can use it? The ammo will say Federal or Winchester USA whatever, but that lead came from elsewhere.

      • avatar505markf says:

        Correct. Made in the USA doesn’t mean every component or element was made in the US. We do not have at least half of the top ten strategic minerals in our country so these must be imported, including chromium, bauxite (tin), and nickel (among others).

        • avatarJus Bill says:

          A good example of the USG NOT “buying American” that I’ve used many times:

          The Government owns literally hundreds of millions of PCs. Each of those contains a network card. Each network card contains several hard-coded chips. The Government buys from the same sources as you and me. None of these cards or chips are “made in the USA.” Don’t believe me? Check your local electronics store.

          You may now put your tinfoil hats back on. This is called in the trade “Risk Management.”

      • avatarDanny says:

        We’ll probably end up getting the lead from Canada.

    • avatarRenegade Dave says:

      At least on the building end of things, all projects are subject to the “Buy American” act, which more or less states that if something is available “off the shelf” is manufactured in America, then you must use that product unless you can prove the case for why you shouldn’t. It’s ridiculous how many “off the shelf” items are NOT American.

      Amazing how the party that cries out for local business and decries “corporations” also pushes aggressive legislation preventing the very thing they cry out for.

  16. avataruncommon_sense says:

    Open your eyes people. The Progressives want as much power as possible. And their simple game plan: drive our nation’s economy into the ground so that the masses, in utter desperation, give themselves over to the governing party that will “save them” from literal starvation. And guess which political party offers the most handouts? Yes sir the good old democrats.

    Don’t get me wrong. I am not a big fan of republicans either. They have passed the budgets and allowed the executive orders to stand that are driving us to the edge of oblivion.

    So, do not be fooled. Government will justify their actions with arguments such as environmental policy but those are all a ruse. I am a huge fan of a clean, healthy environment. But what good is a pristine environment if almost everyone is starving or ill? Even stone age humans impacted our environment. We need balance and sending everything overseas is not a healthy balance.

  17. avatarTemplar says:

    Please stop panicking over every little thing, guys

  18. avatarmiforest says:

    Remember those strange ” outrageously huge ” ammo orders that all the government agencies placed last year? it’s almost this has been planned for a while , and they wanted to stock up before the prices go up.
    this has nothing to do with the environment .

  19. avatarDon says:

    Maybe this is why every random gov’t agency has been stockpiling ammo.

    -D

  20. avatarChris says:

    I support the idea of KickStarter for this, 1 buck from each gunowner boom, done.

  21. avatarChris Dumm says:

    I love shooting, but I sincerely wish there were a less-toxic alternative that didn’t cost an arm and a leg. (Cough Barnes Bullets cough.)

    Unlike iron, or zinc or calcium, lead is a toxin just like mercury or cadmium, and there’s no ‘good’ amount of it to have in your system. Even five micrograms per deciliter of blood causes fatigue, nerve damage, and cognitive deficits in adults. In children whose growing brains take up more minerals, the damage is even more severe.

    I know we depend on it for our ammunition, but let’s recognize that lead smelting is just about the most toxic industrial operation ever invented?Lead smelters use 19th century technology to refine it and put tons of it (literally, actually tons of it) into the nearby air, water and soil every year.

    Lead smelting wasn’t exactly a thriving industry before this, because the biggest industrial consumers of lead used to be petroleum refineries and the paint industry. Lead used to be an industrial staple, but today very few products are allowed to have any lead in them at all.

    Epidemiologists strongly suspect there’s a causal link between the reduced crime rates in the US in recent decades, and the elimination of lead from paint products and gasoline. After the removal of these lead sources, blood lead levels in young children decreased by about 75% across the board by the mid-1990s.

    I wish we weren’t just exporting all our pollution to China, but at least a Chinese lead smelter won’t turn my kids into mentally defective morons. If the Chinese want to do that to their own kids, unfortunately we can’t stop them.

    • avatarneiowa says:

      Well you’re fully indoctrinated. How do you account for their their that “pollutants” dumped in the atmosphere travel around the entire world in about 3minutes. From China to you before you can unplug your Prius. Loy lft “science” is just a big ball of snakes.

      • avatarStinkeye says:

        Lead compounds are quite heavy, and tend to settle out of the air fairly quickly. That’s why the areas around lead processing facilities are much more highly polluted than distant places.

        And 3 minutes to get around the world? Sure, if the wind is blowing at 240,000 miles per hour…

        That’s not to say that pollution in China and other places doesn’t eventually impact us, but it’s not exactly as instantaneous and direct as you seem to think.

    • avatarFug says:

      Lead is carcinogenic. It is naturally occurring. All that crap you posted is just a bunch of hot air.

      My father was exposed to leaded diesel, asbestos to his face while he slept and Agent Orange during the Vietnam war. He had lung problems and died from them in his late 60s, but they never became severe until right before the end and he never had any of the symptoms you describe. He also smoked three packs of cigarettes a day, which is how most people get exposed to lead.

      You should try to avoid lead, but you should not believe the Green Fascists who tell you we need to eradicate it. These are moneyed people playing games with commodities and your mind is one of them.

  22. avatarKyle in CT says:

    There is a key definition here that is being missed. Doe Run is/was a primary smelter. This means that it takes in ore and produces lead from that. This does not affect secondary smelters, which reprocess used lead from various sources, including car batteries, range berms, etc. Primary lead production, like most mining and processing, is an incredibly dirty process and in the case of lead can and has led to birth defects, neurological dysfunction, and numerous other effects throughout the human body. It is not nice stuff to be around. This is why US Lead is now Superfund a site. Lead emissions WILL kill you, eventually. After it turns your brain into swiss cheese. If the company cannot do business without meeting lead emissions restrictions, it really shouldn’t be in business, because once it’s out there, there isn’t much you can do about it, and everyone living near that production facility will pay the price for it, if they haven’t already. It all very nice to decry evil regulations, but I highly doubt too many people are willing to let a known lead emitter set up near their drinking water.

    • avatarThomas Paine says:

      thanks for the clarification sir.

    • avatarneiowa says:

      Round 1. See also the EPA and iron/steel industry.

      The gun industry needs to be calling 2nd Amendment foul on this BS.

      • avatarJus Bill says:

        What iron/steel industry? The US steel smelting industry is a hollow shell of what it once was. Bethlehem Steel is the latest casualty, after being sold twice, it’s now a ghost town, being sold off in pieces.

        • avatarMark N. says:

          This fact has virtually nothing to do with EPA regulations but instead a global market in which French and Chinese steel gets massive government support, permitting them to sell their steel at below market cost. US manufacturers, not having these (illegal) price support, found themselves in an uncompetitive position. Add to that the fact that much of the US steel infrastructure date from the turn of the century–the 20th century that is (pre-WWI), while European industries were rebuilt after WWII with modern technology and are much more efficient. The US as has suffered from a lack of investment in the heavy steel industry for many decades–which is why the iron belt is called the rust belt.

          Industrialists rationalized the decision to ship these facilities off shore, where a lack of regulation and cheaper labor costs meant more profit. You can’t blame this on the EPA or the current administration, but on greed, short term thinking, and a lack of ethical business ideologies to whom the almighty dollar is of more importance than human lives. It is cheaper to pollute and allow your workers and their families to die of cancer than to be a responsible world citizen. This is starting to change–more and more countries (e.g. Mexico) are starting to enforce their long ignored environmental regulations as they begin to realize the massive human costs of their past laxity. As costs increase, the educated American labor force becomes more attractive, as does the decrease in transportation costs and delivery times. Soon, China will find it necessary to do so as well, as its citizens in major manufacturing areas are on the verge of revolt from the toxic fog that envelops their towns and cities (like Beijing). When that happens, prices for their commodities will rise, and the world market will become more competitive. This is all good, especially if the current imbalances in labor and production costs normalize. Yes, prices will rise, but it will be a better, cleaner world to live in. There really can be no ethical excuse for continuing to poison and kill millions of some people for the benefit of others.

        • avatarGS650G says:

          “You can’t blame this on the EPA or the current administration, but on greed, short term thinking, and a lack of ethical business ideologies to whom the almighty dollar is of more importance than human lives.”

          Or a business can pay higher costs, lose market share, and watch as it disappears into thin air polluted by overseas competitors. There is noting short term about the thinking that moves companies from where they are fleeced to where they can grow.
          Funny how ethical business practices don’t apply to government regulatory actions by short sighted bureaucrats who never made payroll before.
          When you run a large industrial business and face these challenges remember to go green as well.

        • avatarJus Bill says:

          And there you have it. With lead smelting as with anything else (like steelmaking, which is the point I was making above), if something becomes too expensive to manufacture in the US, and the demand remains, manufacturing will either go where its cheaper or be subsidized.

  23. avatar505markf says:

    Anyone else get an ironic tingle from the namesake of the town (Herculaneum ) in which the smelting operation is located is one of the two towns decimated when Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD? Just sayin’.

  24. avatarDamDoc says:

    might want to research this a bit more.. all is not lost, apparently, for lead recycling

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/scientific-american-recognizes-rsr-commitment-152200527.html;_ylt=A2KJ3CdZPmVSRXkAIKZDDex_

  25. avatarJoe Grine says:

    Once again, thanks to all you folks that vote Democrat. Hope you are happy.

    • avatarMothaLova says:

      Yes, indeed, although let’s also be frank:

      Nixon created the EPA, Bush I signed the Clean Air Act, and Bush II and his Republican Congress couldn’t bring themselves to do anything about either for six years (2000-06).

      Conventional Republicans are less dangerous than Democrats, but they are still very dangerous, and none of this usurpation of the people’s power could have occurred without the help of many Republicans.

    • avatarMark says:

      Hey, all you slobbering teabagger wingnuts, this shit happened under your hero GW

      Doe Run made significant efforts to reduce lead emissions from the smelter, but in 2008 the federal Environmental Protection Agency issued new National Ambient Air Quality Standards for lead that were 10 times tighter than the previous standard. Given the new lead air quality standard, Doe Run made the decision to close the Herculaneum smelter.

      That said 2008, who was the POS President in 2008 you ask???? Asshats

  26. avatarRalph says:

    After dealing with the ATF as a gun owner and the EPA as a lawyer, it’s my opinion that the ATF is dangerous but the EPA is a bunch of power crazed nazis. I’ll take the ATF over the EPA every day of the week.

    • avatarMothaLova says:

      Yes, that is my impression, too. The ATF is horribly overzealous, but the EPA’s project is nothing short of enviro-communism.

  27. avatarSteve says:

    That POS will not be happy until he shuts this entire country down.

    • avatarMothaLova says:

      That’s why he’s doubled the debt so fast, and will continue to drive us in deeper ($17 trillion and counting!). He believes America’s history is imperialist, racist, and criminal, and he thinks we deserve to be made weak and subordinate. This is not unique to Obama, but is the common view of the Marxist post-modernist academic left, of whom Obama is merely one representative.

      • avatarMark says:

        Hey, all you slobbering teabagger wingnuts, this shit happened under your hero GW

        Doe Run made significant efforts to reduce lead emissions from the smelter, but in 2008 the federal Environmental Protection Agency issued new National Ambient Air Quality Standards for lead that were 10 times tighter than the previous standard. Given the new lead air quality standard, Doe Run made the decision to close the Herculaneum smelter.

        That said 2008, who was the POS President in 2008 you ask???? Asshats

  28. avatarGS650G says:

    The pulled over 40 tons of lead off the ground at a range near me. Trap shooting for years there. It had been almost 20 years since it was done last and the club made thousands of dollars to pay taxes, upgrade the heating system, etc.

  29. avatarFug says:

    How does one get into lead mining? I mean does this have to be the end of lead refining in the USA or would it just be more cost effective to build a whole new facility?

    Lead seems like an industry of vital national importance, even today. How hard would it be to work with lead in a clandestine fashion to avoid EPA regulations? Surely that could become an issue if certain trends continue?

  30. avatarMichaelB says:

    So now we’re going to get a bunch of morons start making bullets from leftover lead. Great. Junior and Bobby in the garage, melting down 40 pounds of lead in Mom’s Pyrex, using the Coleman camp stove or 15 butane torches duct taped together to melt the lead. Not using proper gear, eating FunYuns and Bugles while they work. If they survive the eventual house fire, they’ll die from lead poisoning.

    • avatarvioshi says:

      Redefining moonshine:) the smart ones will setup in the woods, next to a spring to wash tools and cool ingots, and just pile the dross wherever it falls. Much better for the environment.

  31. avatarSaul Feldstein says:

    Umm, this EPA action was done in 2008, so for all the damage Obama is doing this one is squarely on Bush. A further reminder that the bulk of both parties care less about “jobs” in the US, unless it is a govt job. If you are really upset by this you all better start supporting the Tea Party, read Mark Levins book The Liberty Amendments, and get active on the forming state Conventions to Amend the Constitution. As far as effect on ammo prices, they may actually fall because Canada and China will import subsidized lead ingots to processing facilities cheaper than producing it here.

  32. avatarbob says:

    So what happens when the army can’t get bullets?

  33. avatarJohn Mielach says:

    Another screw to the people. Do you think Homeland Security will still get the 1.6B rounds they ordered? You betcha. Did these political elite give the Chinese another 650M to take the lead facility? Maybe. This administration wants people to be government dependant, which is 1/2 step away from dictaorship. Think it can’t happen here? That’s what Germany, Russia, and Venezuala all said.
    When you have 47% of the populace that are paid to vote, this administration is the proof of what happens. Anyone seen Detroit lately?
    I fear for my grandchildren!!

    • avatarMark says:

      Hey, John, you slobbering teabagger wingnut, this shit happened under your hero GW

      Doe Run made significant efforts to reduce lead emissions from the smelter, but in 2008 the federal Environmental Protection Agency issued new National Ambient Air Quality Standards for lead that were 10 times tighter than the previous standard. Given the new lead air quality standard, Doe Run made the decision to close the Herculaneum smelter.

      That said 2008, who was the POS President in 2008 you ask????

      Asshat

    • DHS did not buy 1.6 billion rounds. I thought they did, too, but the solicitation was actually for a small fraction because people didn’t know how to decipher contract solicitations. A retired Air Force officer told me what the codes mean, and the amount actually bought turned out to be pretty normal. See here:
      http://senseofevents.blogspot.com/2013/02/dhs-buying-billions-of-rounds-not-so.html

  34. avatarDonald Sensing says:

    There are many and significant factual errors in this post. I am as a devoted opponent to this administration as you will find, but here are the facts:

    1. The Doe Run Co. last primary (ore-refining) lead-smelting plant in the US, not the last lead producing plant.

    2. The Obama EPA did not “go after” the Doe Run plant. The Bush EPA did.

    3. China is not our primary source of primary-smelted lead. Mexico is by an enormous margin. Eighty percent of US primary plants that closed actually just moved to Mexico.

    4. The Doe Run plant’s output is used almost exclusively for non-ammo production, mainly in industrial lead-acid batteries. But at full speed, Doe Run does not produce enough lead to meet even 10 percent of the need for batteries alone. Its output as a proportion of the total domestic lead market is minuscule.

    5. The primary source of lead for ammunition is recycled lead, for which a strong domestic industry exists. Shutting down the Doe Run plant will have practically no effect on US ammunition supply chain or production.

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