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calendar   Wednesday - October 30, 2013

Get The Lead Out

And Then There Were None

Last Lead Smelter In USA To Close Down

EPA Regs Too Costly To Comply With

Repercussions Destroy Local Community

Anything using lead (like bullets) now subject to import/export rules

There. That tells the whole story in the headlines I think. Nice and fast.

[October 2010] Herculaneum Missouri - Doe Run Co. will close its lead smelter in Herculaneum in three years and will pay $65 million to correct violations of environmental laws at 10 of its lead processing facilities in southeast Missouri, the company and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Friday.

Environmentalists, who have called attention to the dangers of lead poisoning, heralded the news while local officials worried what the future holds for Herculaneum, the Jefferson County town that has relied on the smelter for jobs and tax money for more than 100 years.

The company said it will end operations at the lead smelter, the only primary lead smelter in the United States, by Dec. 31, 2013.
...
Doe Run must establish financial assurance trust funds, at an estimated cost of $28 million to $33 million, for the cleanup of Herculaneum and other active or former mining and milling facilities, the EPA said.

In addition, the company must pay a $7 million civil penalty for violating a series of environmental laws. Doe Run said half of that will go to schools in Iron, Reynolds, Jefferson and Washington counties.
...
270 people work at the Herculaneum plant, many of whom could retain jobs if the new plant goes there. If it doesn’t, Pyatt said, only a few employees will remain to carry out duties such as supervising remediation in Herculaneum.

Pyatt said local officials have been lobbying hard to keep the company in Herculanuem.

“They really want to keep the jobs and the tax base there,” Pyatt said.  It’s not surprising — the plant paid $933,000 last year in property taxes.

So the evil polluting smelter, that’s been there since teh end of the Civil War, employs the whole town and pays most of the taxes, has to be punished and driven out of business. Gee, I wonder what happened next?

[2012] For 25 years, the smelter didn’t meet federal air standards for lead, and now, after decades of battling government regulators and angry parents, Doe Run is leaving town at the end of next year.

The battles over contamination turned this town on its head, pitting neighbor against neighbor, uprooting and bulldozing the center of town. It all culminated in a storm of lawsuits: one of them—against the Environmental Protection Agency -- forced the federal government to revise the national air pollution standard for lead, tightening it by a factor of ten.

Now, unable to meet the tough new standard, Doe Run is finally closing the plant: the last primary lead smelter in the United States will be dismantled at the end of next year. In June, Doe Run made it final – the company won’t be rebuilding in Herculaneum with a new cleaner plant, as they had earlier planned on. That would be “an unacceptable financial risk.”

So the town, it’s greedy lawyers, and the corruptocrat bastards at the EPA put the screws to Doe Run so bad that they said to hell with it, and shut things down. And don’t you just bloody LOVE how the company’s suit against the government’s singling them out for persecution FORCED the EPA to make the lead pollution rules TEN TIMES more onerous? Forced them! Twisted their arms to make them come up with new regs impossible for anyone to comply with. Rather similar to Obama and his quest to kill the coal industry.

And now? Well ... the laws of unintended consequences being what they are ...

About 145 employees of the Doe Run lead smelter have 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 EPA says the company decided to close its plant instead of installing pollution control technologies.

City Administrator Jim Kasten said Friday he was worried about potential job losses and the crushing financial blow, especially to the school district, that the company’s departure would cause.

“This is a big deal, and how we’re going to counteract these things, I don’t know at this point,” he said.

Doe Run contributes 11 percent of the local revenue for the Dunklin School District, which includes Herculaneum, said Superintendent Stan Stratton.

The loss of that income would “force a heavier burden on our taxpayers,” Stratton said. The district’s annual budget, including state and federal money, is about $13 million.

The effects go further. Doe Run uses about half the water the city contracts to buy. Kasten estimated that when smelting stops, the average household’s water bill would increase by $30 to $40 a month.

“If Doe Run’s not buying it, someone’s got to,” Kasten said.

So the town will soon be pretty much out of business, with a whole domino cascade of missing taxes and absent money spreading the poverty far and wide. But those empty homes and businesses will have less pollution!

And as for sportsmen ... hunters and shooters ... not to mention any business in the nation that uses solder in its electronics ... or X-ray shielding ... or anything lead has always been used for ... possibly a national security issue (and now we know why DHS bought up all those billions of rounds! And why the military came up with “green” bullets with tungsten cores, because reducing pollution in the middle of a war is so so important, right??) ...

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.

Whatever the EPA’s motivation when creating the new lead air quality standard, increasingly restrictive regulation of lead is likely to affect the production and cost of traditional ammunition. Just this month, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that will ban lead ammunition for all hunting in California. The Center for Biological Diversity has tried multiple times to get similar regulations at the federal level by trying, and repeatedly failing, to get the EPA to regulate conventional ammunition under the Toxic Substances Control Act.

At this time, it’s unclear if Doe Run or another company will open a new lead smelter in the United States that can meet the more stringent lead air quality standards by using more modern smelting methods. What is clear is that after the Herculaneum smelter closes its doors in December, entirely domestic manufacture of conventional ammunition, from raw ore to finished cartridge, will be impossible.

See More Below The Fold

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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 10/30/2013 at 05:29 PM   
Filed Under: • EconomicsEnvironmentGovernment •  
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