It’s a sexy story. “The EPA in a backdoor move by the Obama administration is forcing the last lead smelting plant in the United States to close… resulting in what’s certain to be a reduction of supply of ammo, and increased costs.” But it’s simply not true.
There is a part of the story that is interesting. Supposedly the EPA released new guidelines that required the smelter in question to spend a bunch of money to upgrade it. Many people say it was an old, “dirty” operation that needed to close anyway. But the closure of the Missouri plant at the end of this year will have little if any effect on the production of ammunition in the United States, for the simple fact the plant didn’t supply hardly any lead to the industry.
Even Allen West fell for the story.
I am one who steers very clear of tinfoil hat conspiracy theories.
The first contact the EPA made with The Doe Run Lead Smelter in Herculaneum, Missouri (population 2,800) was in 2008 but it was in 2010 that the EPA finally forced Doe Run to plan a shut down. This plant has been in operation since 1892 but will finally close its doors this month. It was the last lead smelting plant in the US.
The closedown is due to new extremely tight air quality restrictions placed on this specific plant. President Obama and his EPA raised the regulations by 10 fold and it would have cost the plant $100 million to comply.
There is evidence the place was kind of a mess, but that’s beside the point of my post.
What this all means is that after December 2013, any ammunition that will be available to US citizens will have to be imported, which will surely increase the price and possibly come under government control. It seems this is fully in concert with the US Military and Homeland Defense recent purchase of large quantities of ammunition.
The effect is chilling: you can own all the guns you want, but if you can’t get ammo, you are out of luck.
First of all, there are a lot of ammunition manufactures within the United States and almost none of them buy lead from this factory. This smelter was a primary source of lead from iron ore. The thing is, there are plenty of lead smelters in the country who recycle lead and that’s where almost all of the US ammo manufactures get their lead!
To state again, US manufactures get their lead from the secondary, recycle market. Stuff like recycled batteries and other scrap sources, not from primary sources like the plant in Missouri. One of the top manufactures of ammunition in the US had to put this at the top of their list of frequently asked questions.
DOES THE RECENT NEWS REGARDING A MAJOR U.S. LEAD SMELTER SHUTTING DOWN MEAN YOU’LL HAVE TROUBLE OBTAINING LEAD FOR MANUFACTURING CONVENTIONAL AMMUNITION?
At this time we do not anticipate any additional strain on our ability to obtain lead.
- It’s the end of the primary lead smelter in Herculaneum (and I feel fine)
- The end of a lead-laced era: polluting smelter to close after 120 years
- Lead Producer to Pay $7M Fine, Spend $65M on Cleanups
And from Sierra Bullets.
The main question asked is “Will this shut down your supply of lead?” The answer to that is no. First, Sierra buys lead from several different vendors to maintain constant supply. Second, this facility only smelts primary lead or lead ore. This is lead ore that has just been brought out of the earth. Sierra uses no primary lead at all and never has, so we use nothing directly from this facility. The lead we buy from Doe Run comes from their recycling facility in Boss, MO that is about 90 miles away from the smelter that is closing.