EPA Closure of Last Lead Smelting Plant to Impact Ammunition Production

By:  Joe Wolverton, II, J.D.
11/06/2013
       
EPA Closure of Last Lead Smelting Plant to Impact Ammunition Production

In forcing the country's last lead smelting plant to close, the overreaching federal Environmental Protection Agency is making a severe impact on the manufacture of ammunition.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is not content to infringe on property rights; recent actions taken against the country's last lead smelting facility will affect the right to keep and bear arms, as well, by substantially impacting the production of ammunition. As of December 31, 2013, the lead refining plant will close for good.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports:

About 145 employees of the Doe Run lead smelter [in Herculaneum, Missouri] learned they will lose their jobs at the end of December because of the plant’s closure, the Doe Run Co. said Wednesday. An additional 73 contractor jobs also will be eliminated.

The job cuts were expected. The plant, which has operated for more than a century and is the lone remaining lead smelter in the United States, announced in 2010 that it will cease operations at the end of this year.

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.

That all sounds so very sterile, but the truth of the matter is that in shuttering this plant, the Obama administration has taken yet another unconstitutional step, one that will severely impinge on the nation's ammunition manufacturing capability. Why would the Doe Run Company, the owners of the Missouri lead smelting facility, agree to being run out of business by the EPA? One word: extortion.

In a document published on its website, the EPA explains that in order for Doe Run to continue its operations, the company would have to agree to pay “$65 million to correct violations of several environmental laws at 10 of its lead mining, milling and smelting facilities in southeast Missouri. The settlement also requires the company to pay a $7 million civil penalty.”

In a statement to the press, Doe Run said the fine and the required upgrades to its facilities were “too financially risky.”

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