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Published On: Sun, Nov 10th, 2013

Obama gets the lead out: shortage on batteries, bullets and equipment coming

What a tragedy.

As of December, our country will no longer possess the capability to produce lead. 

 

Bullets 243 caliber Berger

Photo/Arthurrh via wikimedia commons

We will instead, be at the mercy of countries like Communist China for the lead we need to make batteries, ammunition, shielding and scores of other products.

This is disgraceful for our nation, and being done under the auspices of environmentalism via the Environmental Protection Agency.
Not only will this cost Americans more jobs, it will be a devastating loss for the independent production of goods and resources that we, as a country, use and export.

This is truly a page out of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.

Government regulations are continually killing more and more business, driving people out of work and making them dependent on government . Government regulations are driving production out of our country and sending more jobs and businesses overseas.

These same government regulations which purport to “make us cleaner and safer” – do neither.

And if something is not done to end this madness, we will see coal production and other mining and drilling operations gone as well, in the coming years.

Additionally, with the closure of this lead smelting facility, there will certainly be an increase in the cost to consumers, for the items which require the use of lead.

We will see ammo shortages, which is most likely another desired outcome coming from the Obama administration’s promotion of such ridiculous regulation leading to the end of lead production in this country. I am certain there will be people hoarding lead and smelting it themselves… until the government finds a way to halt that as well.

One commenter to the article below wisely observed:

“As it stands now, there are nearly no manufacturers of major items in the U.S. Most are made in communist nations. For instance: mechanic tools, power transformers (provide electrical power), farm and other tractors, steel, shoes (2), a/c compressors and exchangers, auto tires, and now, lead contained products. Our nation is very close to be completely dependent on foreign countries (as most other third world countries are).”

Please read the text of this article:

The last standing primary lead smelter (shown) in the United States will be closing in December — thanks to the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s continuing war on American industry. While environmental militants may cheer the demise of the Doe Run Company smelter in Herculaneum, Missouri, as an ecological “victory,” the plant’s closure will have little-to-no positive environmental impact, while causing significant economic harm. The potential implications for individual liberty and national security could prove to be even more significant. Meanwhile, Congress continues to permit the EPA to wreak havoc on the American economy, with draconian regulations that have no basis in science and are causing incalculable harm. EPA regulations, for example, are closing hundreds of coal-fired electrical plants and are now targeting natural gas, which has been one of the few bright spots in our national economy, producing (together with unconventional oil production) 1.7 million jobs.

Once Doe Run’s Herculaneum smelter closes there will be no facility left in the United States to process lead ore. A dozen or so secondary smelters will remain to process recycled batteries and other products containing lead, but there is no reason to believe that the EPA’s ever-tightening noose will not eventually order them closed as well. The Herculaneum smelter, which has operated in the same location since 1892, began its shutdown in 2010, after the company concluded an agreement with the EPA.

Tammy Stankey, a public affairs spokesperson at the Doe Run Company, told The New American that the Herculanaum smelter, which once employed over 300, will continue to employ around 75 workers for some time in non-lead-smelting jobs.

While the EPA is closing the last U.S. lead smelting plant, the International Lead Association (ILA), reported in London on October 22 that the global demand for the base metal is expected to continue rising. The ILA reported:

According to the International Lead Zinc Study Group (ILZSG), global demand for lead is expected to increase 5 percent in 2013 and an additional 4.6 percent in 2014. Demand for lead in the U.S. is expected to increase by 7.6 percent in 2013, bolstered by both original equipment purchases of new vehicles and replacement purchases of lead-acid batteries.

Almost 90 percent of lead production in the United States is consumed in making storage batteries. The vast majority of those batteries are for automobiles, trucks, and other motor vehicles. However, many commercial and governmental institutions use large storage batteries for electrical generating facilities, computer centers, telecommunications, medical equipment, air traffic control towers, and more. 

“Recent lead-acid battery optimism is reinforced,” says the ILA, “by the fact that other battery technologies have yet to reach the high recycling rate of lead-acid options. In the U.S., 98 percent of spent lead-acid batteries are collected and returned to permitted recyclers, which recycle both lead and plastic, keeping 2.4 million tons of batteries out of landfills.”

Lithium-ion batteries and nickel-metal hydride batteries have not lived up to their early hype and there is no viable replacement on the near horizon for the lead-acid batteries that are essential for the millions of cars now on the road and the millions more that will be rolling off production lines in coming years.

The second largest use of lead in the U.S., after storage batteries, is for ammunition. With ammunition already difficult to obtain and prices of ammo already skyrocketing, the Doe Run closure can only make matters worse.

Competing with automobiles and ammunition for a dwindling supply of available domestic lead are: ceramic glazes, shielding for X-rays and other radiation, concrete, electronics, glass lenses, paints and coating, paper, silverware and tableware, wire and cable insulation.

As might be expected, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show saw concerns about the closure as an opportunity to ridicule “wacky uncle conspiracy theorists” who, according to MSNBC, see a gun-grab plot behind every federal action. However, as our many reports on the Obama administration’s actions in the Fast and Furious scandal involving gun-running by U.S. federal agencies to Mexico’s deadly drug cartels show (see here and here), the “conspiracy theorists” may not be so whacky after all.

It is likely, though, that the EPA’s environmental extremists view the hit to ammunition costs and availability imposed by the Doe Run closure as simply a serendipitous twofer, an incidental bonus they get for free, in addition to further hamstringing the manufacturing and natural resources industries of what remains of the private productive sector of America’s economy.

As usual, one of the main beneficiaries of this action will be the People’s Republic of China, which is the world’s largest producer of lead. If Congress allows the EPA’s lead standards to rule, the United States will become increasingly hostage to China for lead, as we have already become for rare earth elements.

From a purely environmental standpoint, this new global lead hegemony by the Beijing regime should be of major concern to the green activists who live by the mantra, “Think globally, act locally.” China, which may be the world’s worst environmental offender, can hardly be expected to do a better job than Doe Run in dealing with lead residues and contaminants in an ecologically responsible manner.

I am so very sad to see the continual dismantling of industry and manufacturing in this country… especially due to absurd government restrictions and regulations.

“Government ‘help’ to business is just as disastrous as government persecution… the only way a government can be of service to national prosperity is by keeping its hands off.”    - Ayn Rand

About the Author

lives with her husband Michael in CT. They have three grown children who were homeschooled and are now successfully pursuing careers. Judy earned her Bachelor’s degree in Economics, Magna Cum Laude, with minors in Business Administration and Computer Science from the State University of New York at New Paltz.

Judy has been involved in politics for over 15 years. Judy has written many articles on various aspects of education at home and in public and private schools. She has been published in magazines and online, and has been interviewed on radio and in print.

She served as Vice President of Connecticut Homeschool Network (CHN) and was their legislative liaison. She now serves as Research Director for National Home Education Legal Defense (NHELD) providing parents across the nation with important information on legislative issues concerning parental rights and education.

 

 

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About the Author

- Judy Aron is the author of the Libertarian Blog "Consent of the Governed" Judy has been involved in politics for over 15 years. Judy has written many articles on various aspects of education at home and in public and private schools. She has been published in magazines and online, and has been interviewed on radio and in print.

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  1. […] Obama gets the lead out: shortage on batteries, bullets and equipment coming (theglobaldispatch.com) […]

  2. […] Ammunition Control? Obama gets the lead out: shortage on batteries, bullets and equipment coming – The Global Dispatch I haven't read the entire thing yet and so don't know that I wholeheartedly agree with it. So, […]

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