Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines, TN 398, 1992 May; :1-2
Background: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Congress are presently considering several approaches aimed at reducing the amount of lead in the environment and society's exposure to lead. One approach is to tax domestic primary lead production or consumption. Objective: To assist the Congress and the EPA in their decision making, a study was initiated by the U.S. Bureau of Mines, which assesses the minerals related implications of a tax on U.S. primary lead production and primary lead imports. This investigation analyzes the impacts of a primary lead tax on: (1) domestic primary lead production, (2) domestic lead coproduct and byproduct production (including bismuth, cadmium, germanium, indium, silver, and zinc production), (3) domestic secondary lead production, (4) lead imports, (5) domestic lead recycling activity, and (6) the U.S. lead price. Study Findings: Domestic Primary Lead and Primary Lead Coproduct and Byproduct Production. A quantitative analysis based on the application of the Bureau's Supply Availability System (SAM) bas been conducted to determine the impacts on domestic primary lead and primary lead coproduct and byproduct production from domestic lead source material for a range of taxes. The study found that domestic primary lead production would be sensitive to a tax. Domestic primary lead production could be expected to decline by 21% with a $0.04 per pound (10% of the 1990 average price for lead) tax. Significant declines in lead coproduct and byproduct production were also estimated to result at most tax rates analyzed. A primary lead tax of $0.80 per pound reduces U.S. primary lead production by 99%, and as a consequence, reduces estimated domestic source production of; zinc by 87%, bismuth by 89%, cadmium by 85%, silver by 16%, and would eliminate the most significant domestic source of germanium and indium available in the near future. U.S. Secondary Imports and Production. Increased secondary lead supplies, consisting largely of imports of secondary metal, will offset any decline in domestic primary lead production activity that becomes uncompetitive because of the higher costs associated with primary lead tax on the domestic producer. U.S. Imports of Primary Lead. Imports of primary lead supplies, in addition to imports of secondary lead, may also displace domestic primary supply because enforcement of a tax on imports of primary lead and primary lead contained in products will be difficult, impracticable, and expensive to administer. Domestic Recycling Activity. Little or no increase in domestic recycling activity will take place. The maximum U.S. lead price premium that could remain in the long run will be equal to the costs of importing secondary lead and lead scrap, estimated at $0.00 to $0.05 per pound. This maximum price premium would not provide sufficient economic incentive to affect the small amount of vehicular batteries that are not being recycled domestically, less than 5% in 1989.
Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines, TN 398