Brietbart Misses Real Story Regarding EPA Closing Last US Based Lead Smelter

This Breitbart head line caught my eye this morning:


Admittedly, I was a little worked up when I first read the headline, and the story lede reinforces the dire headline:

Because of heightened EPA regulations, Doe Run Company’s Herculaneum lead smelter in Herculaneum, Missouri—the last U.S. smelter of its kind—is closing its doors on December 31, 2013.

Once this happens, the lead for traditional ammunition will have to be imported, thus driving up the price for bullets, shotgun shells, etc.

Taking a step back and and analyzing the story further, you realize that the real story here is unelected leftist bureaucrats at the EPA can simply change the rules and put a company and 145 workers out of a good paying manufacturing jobs on, more or less, a whim.

The EPA putting people out of work is the real story, since the ammo angle is really a non issue in regards to smelting lead locally.

First off, the United States is a net importer of lead. Furthermore, it would make no economic sense to import unrefined lead ore, so it stands to reason that ammo manufactures such as Hornaday and Winchester already purchase (at least in part) imported lead billets to use in manufacture in their factories.

Second, lead is only one component of the several that make a cartridge or shotgun shell. So, any price swing in lead will be somewhat muted by the price of the several other components in the assembly.

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Lastly, there are other costs that go into the final price of a box of ammo beyond raw materials such as labor, tooling, marketing, utilities, shipping, liability insurance and profit.

This latest anti-business move by Dear Leader and his minions at the EPA won’t directly drive up ammunition prices. However, people freaking out over this latest news creating another run on ammo will drive up prices due to simple supply and demand.

There is no need to cry wolf over a slim chance that ammunition prices increase. The real problem today are the anti freedom, big government, dictatorial politicians running Washington.

  • Jim at Asylum Watch December 3, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    Wow! You post brings back some fond memories, Steve. I work all my career in the mining/smeting industry. I spent the middle 70’s at a lead/zinc mine in south-central Missouri. ASARCO had built a new state-of-the-art lead smelter nearby just to process our lead concentrates (lead sulphide). Our mine was sold to ASARCO in the early eighties and ASARCO was inturn sold to St. Joe’s Doe Run Company in 1998. There use to be thousands of people employed by the lead mining and smelting industry in Missouri. It’s sad to think that it is now all gone.

    • steve December 4, 2013 at 7:53 pm

      Sounds like an interesting gig. Metallurgy (and molten metal) has always has fascinated me.

  • theCL Report: Meet the New Normal December 5, 2013 at 1:58 pm

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