Last Primary Lead Smelter in U.S. to Close Due to EPA Regulations
If the government can’t get enough support from lawmakers to ban guns, ammunition control is the next best avenue for accomplishing the mission.
Once this primary Lead Smelter closes in December, entirely domestic manufacture of conventional ammunition, from raw ore to finished cartridge, will be impossible. The EPAs National Ambient Air Quality Standard is now 10 times tighter than the previous standard. For this reason, in December, the last primary lead smelter in the United States has decided to close its doors.
The Herculaneum, Missouri Smelter, owned and operated by the Doe Run Company, has been in existence in the same location since 1892. 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.
The Missouri smelter is currently the only smelter in the United States which can produce lead bullion from raw lead ore that is mined nearby in Missouri’s extensive lead deposits, giving the smelter its “primary” designation. The lead bullion produced in Herculaneum is then sold to lead product producers, including ammunition manufactures for use in conventional ammunition components such as projectiles, projectile cores, and primers. Several “secondary” smelters, where lead is recycled from products such as lead acid batteries or spent ammunition components, still operate in the United States.
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