HERCULANEUM — A company's plans to close the nation's biggest lead smelter is a relief from some who say it might ease concerns about pollution tied to the plant. Others worry about the financial fallout from losing the plant's 270 jobs and tax revenue.
Doe Run Co. says it will close the smelter in Herculaneum by the end of 2013. Under a settlement with the U.S. government, the company will pay $65 million to settle pollution issues in the town just south of St. Louis.
The company's chief operating officer says it is weighing whether to build a new smelter somewhere to replace the smelting with a new process. The company says the new process can cull lead from the ore virtually without lead emissions.
The site in Herculaneum is the nation's only remaining primary lead smelter.