Lead Smelters and Leftist Lunacy

By: James Simpson
American Thinker


It was recently announced that our nation’s last primary lead smelter, in business since 1892, the Doe Run facility in Herculaneum, Missouri, is closing its doors at the end of this year rather than meet costly new EPA regulations. On the heels of that announcement, there was widespread speculation that the closure would dry up the supply of lead needed for the manufacture of ammunition. The NRA reported that “it is the only smelter in the United States which can produce lead bullion from raw lead ore.” Missouri has the largest lead deposits in the world, and this smelter is the only domestic operation capable of extracting lead from ore, hence its “primary” designation.

Not surprisingly, this announcement was followed shortly by opinion pieces speculating that the EPA was engaged in “backdoor gun control.” Most prominent among those was a post by NoisyRoom.Net blogger, Terresa Monroe-Hamilton. She was cited in a similar thread by former Congressman Allen West, who wrote:

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.

In his post, West did not at first cite Monroe-Hamilton, an oversight that was corrected within one hour. But of course the radical Left lunged all over it, calling him on his “plagiarism” with the rabid lunacy only they can produce – revealing in the process that many of these trolls must just be hovering over big Republican targets waiting for the slightest opportunity to pounce.

The worst of these was a post from a site kindly named Tea Party Poison. I won’t flatter them or boost their puny traffic by providing a link. Look it up yourself if you are really that interested. But it is a tiresomely predictable smear site that focuses its entire efforts on attacking prominent conservatives like West. They even list their targets.

Alerted to the lunacy, Monroe-Hamilton posted a second article, clarifying her position:

It is known far and wide out in the Blogosphere that I will let anyone and everyone use whatever I have. I am honored that Allen West would use my post. I spoke with his office and it was an oversight. They applied attribution and were very kind, thoughtful and gracious to me. There was no intent to plagiarize or do anything that was out of line. My thanks to Allen West and his team. They are always professional and upfront in whatever they do.

But the Left apparently didn’t get the memo. Others followed suit – even a Miami Herald blog. Wonkette, another site known for vacuous hit pieces, plagiarized the Poison piece… Oh no, wait, the author, one “Doktor Zoom,” a man (or woman) apparently lacking the guts to provide his real name, did credit Poison, a fortunate thing because the good Doktor did little work of his own. His only original thought was to say: “Allen West has been chewing leaded paint chips for years, and he’s clearly unaffected.”

Wow, now isn’t that classy!

This is what comes of having an open checkbook from the likes of George Soros, journalistic ethics that couldn’t fill a thimble, and no qualifications other than your ability to spew ad hominem screeds at people who terrify the Left — as Allen West certainly does.

Think of how the Left would react if a conservative accused President Obama of chewing too much lead? We would never hear the end of it. Racists! Nutjobs! Yada yada. Yet Obama plagiarizes speeches… when his teleprompter is working, that is. He is unintelligible otherwise – so maybe we should blame the teleprompter? He is a serial liar to boot, as his horrified followers are just now discovering with Obamacare.

And that is the entire point. Given the virtually nonstop criminal shenanigans of this lawless administration, and Obama’s proclaimed determination to use “executive action” to impose gun control; given the EPA’s unconstitutional regulatory edicts that are destroying the coal industry and terrorizing others, and the former EPA director’s efforts to evade disclosure by using secret emails; given the administration’s relentless efforts to shut down the Keystone pipeline and its other unethical, unconstitutional, criminal behavior, one would be foolish NOT to assume a malevolent motive in almost everything they do.

Doe Run has been wrangling with the EPA since 2003, and the Left blubbers over the fact that these problems predated the Obama administration. The straw that broke the camel’s back was a ten-fold increase in EPA regulatory restrictions that would cost Doe Run $100 million to satisfy. According to the Blaze, these regulations were announced in 2008, before Obama took office, but Doe Run’s settlement with the EPA was not announced until 2010. With all the other misinformation this administration produces, one might be forgiven for missing that detail.

This lead smelter is indeed the only primary smelter in the U.S. Ammo manufacturers, however, usually use recycled lead produced by secondary smelters. These will remain in operation. Still, according to Doe Run spokesperson Tammy Stankey, closing the Herculaneum plant is likely to have a significant impact on price for all lead-based products. This is borne out by the numbers. The Herculaneum plant produces about 130,000 tons of lead per year, according to the company. Total U.S. lead production for the past five years, including primary and recycled sources, averaged about 1.3 million tons per year, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. This supplied almost all of the 1.4 million ton annual domestic demand.

Closing the Herculaneum plant will reduce domestic supply by approximately 10 percent, necessitating substantial increases in more expensive imported lead. Furthermore, whatever environmental shortcomings existed at the Doe Run plant, you can be sure that the replacement imported lead will come from a much dirtier foreign facility. So congratulations, EPA! Once again you have driven a domestic company out of business, costing American jobs in the process, only to add to the world’s net toxic pollution load. This seems to be one thing the Obama administration excels at.

But never mind. Our motives are good. We have gotten rid of that bad old poisonous lead and we’ll just keep tightening the screws until it’s all gone. Then there really will be an ammo shortage. Whatever the EPA’s motives, we can be sure that Obama and Co. are smiling just about now.

James Simpson is an economist, businessman and investigative journalist. His articles have been published at American Thinker, Accuracy in Media, Breitbart, PJ Media, Right Side News, Washington Times, WorldNetDaily and others. His regular column is DC Independent Examiner. Follow Jim on Twitter & Facebook.


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