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Environmental group wants Doe Run smelter shut down

By Maria Hickey, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – An environmental group is asking the EPA to temporarily shut down operations at the Doe Run smelter plant in Herculaneum.

The Missouri Coalition for the Environment says the plant exceeded lead pollution standards during 2005 and should be shut down until it meets air quality standards.

Maxine Lipeles, director of Washington University's Interdisciplinary Environmental Clinic, says Doe Run has been in compliance only two years since the Clean Air standards were set in 1978.

"There are still a number of children living right near the smelter and I think what we're saying is it's time to put public health before the convenience of Doe Run," Lipeles said Thursday.

But a Doe Run spokeswoman says only one of the plant's eight monitors showed that emissions exceeded standards, and that reading was in the monitor closes to the plant.

"It is in the voluntary property purchase area, and so there are residents not around the air monitor and those that remain in the voluntary purchase area - had the option to move and chose not to."

The company also says it was in compliance in the fourth quarter of 2005.