Missouri smelter gains attention from conspiracy theorists

Ordinarily, the demise of a Missouri smelter wouldn’t be a political story worth noting, but the right’s reaction to the Doe Run Co. closing its doors is kind of amazing.
 
At first blush, it’s a pretty straightforward business story. Doe Run is poised to close its lead processing facilities, marking the end of an era – it’s the final primary lead smelter in the United States, and it’s operated in its Herculaneum location since 1892.
 
So why is it closing? The smelting process is pretty awful for the environment, and the Doe Run Co. was ordered by the EPA to install new pollution control technologies needed to reduce sulfur dioxide and lead emissions as required by the Clean Air Act. The company will instead close its lead smelter.
 
At this point, you’re probably thinking the right will use this as an example of EPA regulations hurting an American business, but that’s not quite it. Rather, conservatives see this as part of a larger conspiracy involving … guns.
 
Steve M. flagged this item, which generated some attention on the right yesterday.
There are numerous alarming reasons why the US government and the military have been buying up all the ammo. Here’s one of them. Obama and the EPA just shut down the last lead smelting plant in the US. They raised the EPA regulations by 10 fold and it would have cost the plant $100 million to comply. You can own all the guns you want, but if you can’t get ammo, you are out of luck.
 
Remember when Obama promised his minions that he was working on gun control behind the scenes? Welcome to it.
Here’s the pitch: the EPA says it’s enforcing the Clean Air Act, but what’s really happening is that the Obama administration is using the environment as a pretense to go after a lead smelter so bullets will be scarce and more expensive. The far-right blog post added that this is “an excellent chance that Obama will rig the market to where all ammo has to be purchased from a government entity instituting de facto ammo registration.”
 
It is, to be sure, a wonderfully creative argument, and I’ll gladly give conservatives credit for their remarkable imaginations. There is, however, one noticeable flaw in the conspiracy theory.
 
The EPA first went after the Doe Run Co. and its smelting operation in 2008. President Obama took office in 2009. If enforcement of environmental safeguards was used to secretly undermine access to ammunition, the plot was launched by the notorious gun-grabbers in the Bush/Cheney administration.
 
Keep this in mind when your wacky uncle who watches Fox all day sends you an all-caps email on the subject.
 

Conspiracy Theories and Gun Policy

Missouri smelter gains attention from conspiracy theorists