Smelter Shut Down?
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Doe Run Smelter to Shut Down Operations-Truth!

Summary of the eRumor:  
This is a forwarded email about the Doe Run Company located in Herculaneum, Missouri.   The email said that the smelter, that has been in operation since 1892, is being shut down because the company can not meet the emissions standards of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
 

The Truth:  
It is true that Doe Run is shutting down the smelter that has been in operation since 1892. 

This is the last primary lead smelter in the U.S. and the Doe Run Company, citing a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency,  issued the following release on their website:
 

The Doe Run Company (Doe Run) has issued the following response related to the company’s Herculaneum, Mo., smelter:

On Dec. 31, 2013, The Doe Run Company’s primary lead smelter in Herculaneum, Mo., which has operated since 1892, will cease operations. As a result of the smelter’s closure, 145 Doe Run employees, and approximately 73 contractors, will lose their jobs. Seventy-five positions will be retained for closure and limited operations. Although the United States is home to a number of secondary lead smelters, which recycle lead from various sources, the Herculaneum facility is the last primary lead smelter in the United States. (Primary smelters produce lead from mined resources.)

In 2010, Doe Run reached a comprehensive settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state of Missouri. As part of that settlement, the Company agreed to discontinue its smelting operations in Herculaneum by the end of 2013. Over the operating life of the smelter, the Company spent millions of dollars in environmental and other upgrades. Continuing to upgrade the aging smelter to attempt to meet the increasingly stringent environmental regulations imposed on primary lead smelters was not economically feasible given the many other requirements of our business.* We shared this news in 2010 in a press release available on our website.

The Company had hoped to bring a revolutionary lead metal production technology online prior to the closure of the smelter. This proprietary, new technology (also announced in 2010) uses a wet-chemical, electrowinning process instead of a heat-based smelting process, greatly reducing sulfur dioxide and lead emissions. In 2012, we announced that the cost to build a comparably-sized electrowinning plant was too great for our company, given the present economic conditions and other demands on our operations. We continue to pursue opportunities to bring this technology to commercialization, perhaps on a smaller scale.

This past year, we have worked with our Herculaneum employees to help them transition into new opportunities. Some have taken jobs within other divisions of our company; others have found new careers. Those who remain have been provided skill assessment and training, resume and interviewing skill building, financial counseling and a variety of services. We have a dedicated, hardworking and skilled workforce and we are making every effort to help them transition successfully. As noted above, we expect to keep approximately 75 employees at our Herculaneum facility in 2014 to assist with the continuing operations, including refining and alloying of lead metal, and closure of our site.

More than 80 percent of all lead produced in the U.S. is used in either motive batteries to start vehicles, or in stationary batteries for backup power (particular in military, telecom and medical applications). In the U.S., the recycle rate of these batteries is approximately 98 percent, making  lead-based batteries the most highly recycled consumer product. These batteries are recycled at secondary lead smelters. We own such a smelter in southern Missouri. 

Lead is used in numerous other products, including ammunition and construction materials, as well as to protect against radiation in medical and military applications. While most applications can use secondary lead, those applications that require primary lead will need to import the lead metal in the future. Any additional demand for lead (above that which can be met through recycling at secondary smelters) will also have to be met through imports.

*In 2008, the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for lead was reduced from 1.5 µg/m3 (micrograms of lead per cubic meter of air) to 0.15 µg/m3.


Posted 11/18/13

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

In December, the final primary lead smelter in the United States will close. The lead smelter, located in Herculaneum, Missouri, and owned and operated by the Doe Run Company, has existed in the same location since 1892.

The Herculaneum 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. …

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.

It would be hard to imagine a better example of the Obama Regime’s use of the EPA to impose backdoor tyranny. We would let you have guns, but you see lead causes air pollution.

If you think ammo prices are high now, wait until they close the smelter.

After the Herculaneum smelter closes its doors in December, entirely domestic manufacture of conventional ammunition, from raw ore to finished cartridge, will be impossible.

The national security implications of severely curtailing our ability to produce our own ammunition are obvious. But to our current rulers, national security means something very different from what it did in the past. The idea is no longer to defend America from foreign threats, but to impose the ultimate threat from within.

 


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