Research and creation done by Heather McMurray, x.heather[at]gmail.com

Research and creation on the illegal actions of ASARCO El Paso smelter (from at least 1991 to 1998) done by Heather McMurray (Masters in Biological Sciences) from 2003 to current date, x.heather[at]gmail.com.....The content of my Blog has been used at UTEP, endorsed by 2007 Nobel Peace Prize team-winning author Dr. Devra Davis, and supported by various ex Asarco Workers, including the only ex-Asarco-worker to testify at the ASARCO El Paso 2005 Air Permit renewal Hearing, and others whom I deeply respect for their concern about the poisoning of of water, and health of our children. My qualifications include attending Chatham University that Rachel Carson attended (author of "Silent Spring"), receiving Masters in Biology from Professor who was last student of Nobel prize winner in medicine at Oxford University, Great Britain (Dr. Niko Tinbergen), and being designated a certified highly qualified composite science teacher through UTEP. I was the person who singlehandedly uncovered the 1998 73 page confidential for settlement purposes only US DOJ EPA ASARCO document (NY Times front page 10, 2006, I paid @300$ to post a news release I wrote,it caught attention of NYTimes reporter...I was teaching so Bill Guerra Addington, of the Sierra Blanca Dump Fight answered his call and as result of that conversation , the reporter did the national story); the 1994-5 Asarco Supervisor's whistle-blower's report; the information that Asarco had installed a site-wide water purification/distillation unit that removed radioactive wastes; that a local resident has house dust test information showing that nuclear control rod material called hafnium is found in greater quantities closer to our El Paso smelter; that El Paso has a critical home RADON GAS problem from radioactive radium in the soil outside their home (I presented the authors' paper to the La Paz Accord International JAC committee @2009 who took no action, headed by US EPA Co-chair Bill Luthans) ; and that 3 of the companies caught sending illegal materials for smelting in El Paso were US DOE High level Radioactive Waste Disposal contractors -- including ASARCO (paper published mid 1990's by US DOE Idaho Nat. Lab). In 12/1998 when Asarco began to talk about idling the El Paso plant, their decision came only 2 months after the Sierra Blanca Nuclear dump fight forced TX to deny a license for a nuclear dump site Oct/98, and I discovered EPA data showing how that the winter that the EPA reported El Paso TX had the highest Beta Radiation Levels in the nation -- higher than Oak Ridge TN. Side Note: Sierra Club was not connected to this research/work in any way. The work stands on its own merits in this blog and the attached documents in Scribe gathered on my own and from various sources. Respected Industrial geologists, scientists and attorneys have commented that this work is excellent work and rely on it.

I was non-renewed and regionally blacklisted from working again after disclosing Asarco's impact to our water. Very Sad when the community was afraid to back me up publicly, and I watched this happen to at least two other people. 3 of the 5 who handled the process and vote to non-renew me were later caught in criminal conduct including stealing. One (a former policeman) was recently put into federal prison for four years. The community needs to know what actually happened so that the bad people who allowed a lot of this to go on do not continue to have the power they have. But many are extremely powerful and people are still afraid. Some pose as model citizens and you do not dare to challenge that. Dr. Davis (part of a team that won the 2007 Nobel Peace prize) thanked me for my courage, in a handwritten preface to her 2nd book; and, Mexican activist Selfa Chew (senior, Mother of Dr. Mariana Chew who worked for Sierra Club several years before abandoning the job for another to run the sewage treatment plant in Anapra NM), who started the first labor union across from Asarco wrote me a card in 2008 saying , " Gracias por compastir con migo tos Ideales" among other kind words for my work researching Asarco. Professors Lin Nelson and Ann Fischel in WA wrote, ""to reaffirm what Veronica (Carbajal esq.) said so well, we join with others in honoring the work you have done, the sacrifices you have made...your work on the DOJ materials ("asarco secret document NYTimes 10/06) and your vigilance in bringing it into the light of day is of central significance" (email 12-apr-10). One of my students wrote me years later, " I'm proud and honored that you were my biology teacher." I continue to thank those who stood by me, support me, and say good words not gossip to others. I especially wish to thank Tammy in Corpus who told me about the blue alligator.

EPA, TCEQ, El Paso and San Antonio TRLA, Lois Gibb's group and exworkers from El Paso/citizens are working to "clean up" Encycle/Corpus Christi. Resident and Sierra Club Executive board member, Juan Garza (profiled in Sierra Club magazine 04-05) never revealed and will not release all the full metals analyses from his homes' attic dusts showing how hafnium levels (in nuclear control rods) are higher near our El Paso Asarco site than further away. Why? El Paso (whose smelter burned the stuff from ENCYCLE) drolls over the Asarco land ....El Paso's children are sacrificed to a nearly billion dollar elevated highway transportation project running right through the worst of the worst poisons from Encycle along El Paso's site... that will benefit....whom? Not the ex-workers. Not TRLA. Not the IBWC workers at American dam next to our El Paso Asarco site. How about it maybe aiding the the San Jeronimo Santa Teresa development next door (heavily involved with Washington DC's Rep. O'Rourke's billionaire Father-in-Law, Bill Sanders whose former high level exec. has run the US Carlyle Realty Group)? WAKE UP CORPUS CHRISTI because you are being sacrificed, too. EPA is still withholding the remainder of evidence from you. Powers that be plan to build an elementary school right on top of the El Paso smelter old Lead (Pb) dump) -- where are the ex-workers protesting, in El Paso? Where is TRLA in El Paso? Where is the rep. from Lois Gibb's group when this was the hottest radioactive city in America in 1998 the year she personally gave nuclear activist in El Paso (Bill Addington) an Award for a 56 day fast (no food, just mineral water)? Why is El Paso left out? Why? I cry tears of frustration and grief for our children and water supply, for the sick at IBWC who fought for us since 2001, and the ex-workers who care about the next generations in El Paso, the 3 year olds fighting heart disease and leukemias; the brain cancers and MS. Until EPA or TCEQ hand over the critical split samples I have asked for for 8 years, or the invoices from the 1998 USDOJ EPA secret document ---- then EPA is lying to ALL of us. They are lying to Corpus Christi, El Paso, East Helena and other past Asarco sites.... because Asarco was and probably still is a US DOE HLRW disposal contractor. And EPA and Asarco ought to prove to us that this is not being continued in Hayden, AZ by giving a split sample of that stack's emissions' to the community: Corpus Christi got one (those families in that law suit got $$). But El Paso never did get a stack emissions sample - ever. The El Paso trustee forced us to watch that black soot flow out of the stacks over many communities when he brought down the stacks -- but somehow he/TCEQ/EPA could never share a sample of it....

...Luke 9:62 "No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God"


"THE ONLY THING NECESSARY FOR THE TRIUMPH OF EVIL IS FOR GOOD MEN TO DO NOTHING"
--Burke

Thursday, March 12, 2015

"Union, Environmental Group Say Dozens of Nuclear Workers Suffering from Toxic Materials Exposure
 
By Elizabeth Grossman
In These Times
February 20, 2015
 
Since March 2014, nearly 60 workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state have sought medical attention for on- the-job exposure to chemical vapors released by highly toxic waste stored at the site, some as recently as August. At a public meeting held Wednesday in Pasco, Washington, Hanford workers described symptoms that include chronic headaches, respiratory problems, nerve damage and bloody urine.
 
The meeting, hosted by the United Association (U.A.) of Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 598 and Hanford Challenge, a Seattle-based environmental watchdog group, was convened following the February 10 release by Department of Energy contractor Washington River Protection Services (WRPS) of a "corrective action implementation plan." This plan was developed in response to recommendations in a report from the Savannah River National Laboratory released in October 2014.
 
Commissioned in response to worker exposures at Hanford’s tank farms, the Savannah River report found ongoing emissions of toxic chemical vapors from waste tanks, inadequate worker health and safety procedures and evidence that "strongly suggests a causal link between chemical vapor releases and subsequent health effects."
 
For the entire article, see

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Feb. 2015 "JOBE Materials, L. P. advertising "Rail Services Available" serving El Paso and S. N.M. through both the Union Pacific and BNSF.  The photo shows three materials cars with "JOBE" Logo.  ..."also providing: ready mix concrete, asphalt, aggregates, and trucking services"  stanley[at]jobeco.com"   p. 54 2/15 "Border NOW" mag.
My ten years of painstaking research now shows that the media blitz from the 1990's Sierra Blanca nuclear dump fight causing denial of dump license oct 1998 had timely connection to shut down of local asarco smelter 3 months later.  I obtained several key documents showing how asarco was an official us doe HLRW disposal contractor during those years, that 3 of those contractors including asarco were caught sending illegal materials for burning here; and, that the levels of nuclear control rod element(s) were higher the closer you got to the asarco site.....

Oct. 2012 Fiona Apple, wore the local dump fight activist's name (Bill Addington) on her tshirt for 4 concerts creating a fbk media blitz to his site.


"Our heroes, you see, are men"
Bill Guerra Addington and his mom Gloria  Guerra Addington fought the nuclear dump and the merco sludge dump.   Bill has a skill at media and lobbied in WA d.c. for 5 yrs ...but he is not a saint.   He often said he does not want to be anyone's hero.  What is presented by media and what is real can be different things.   The dump got stopped thru sacrifice and planning by a talented core group of men and women. Some gave up everything financially even though they were not local.   Bill was only one of them.  His mom provided the monies for the whole fight for Bill.  She was honest, had 2 masters degrees, taught school from age 18 and then retired to run the general store.   The stories of the women behind such men are mostly never told; and, it would have been nice had Fiona asked people to read and learn about Gloria Addington instead.  Gloria and other women....Solar, Hudeth, Diane, Gina his ex wife, Heather  and others........the women behind the fight and aftermath, their sacrifices often to the bone and never repaid... they are the ones left behind and forgotten.   History does not remember women.   Our heroes you see, are men.


Friday, December 12, 2014

El Paso Times Editorial calls area polluted with hafnium (from nuclear control rods) "prime real estate"

"I think this would be a great opportunity and a great benefit for UT El Paso," Regent Ernest Aliseda of McAllen said.
The Asarco land is prime real estate for El Paso's future. Given the role UTEP must play in building that future, it makes sense for the UT System to consider the purchase.
And the regents' cautious approach makes sense. Nothing can be done before the environmental cleanup is complete.
[h.m. note: this "clean up" can never be complete, except for by ignoring what really happened there -- and, the ones involved are protected from disclosure under US 1940's Atomic Energy Act.   We have the data and documentation to show what is found around that site and that Asarco (and 2 other companies caught by EPA/US DOJ sending illegal stuff here) were US DOE High Level Radioactive Disposal Contractors, and $100 million is only a drop in the bucket for cleaning up what is there]
But eventual UTEP control of at least some of the Asarco land makes a lot of sense."

http://www.elpasotimes.com/opinion/ci_26893997/ut-interest-asarco-land-makes-sense
11-08-14

[h.m. note: proper cleanup of the ASARCO site would have created billions of dollars of jobs for at LEAST ten years!]

Monday, May 26, 2014

asarco, englehard and dupont were u.s.doe hlrw disposal contractors during time stuff was burned by asarco in el paso that the epa and us doj said had nothing in it to smelt for metals...no copper...nothing.

Bill  Guerra Addington: " Heather is talking about her BLOG on all the research and analysis she did for years on ASARCO not FB posts. Her work as a researcher to get the truth on what happened for 20 years and more in El Paso was cutting edge and exemplary. Heather discovered with a lot of work and fighting with corrupt USEPA and Texas Environmental officials that ASARCO had been criminally and illegally burning thousands of TONS of extremely hazardous waste in EL Paso for 10 years. This discovery by Heather made the front page of the New York Times in Oct 2006. 'ASARCO Illegally Burned Hazardous Waste for Nearly A Decade' NY Times. Without Heather, El Paso's corrupt dirty secret would never been told and our community and the nation would have never known about the incinerated poisons that rained down on our communities of El Paso and Juarez for 10 years causing great sickness and unneeded death," from October 20, 2013

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

CEMEX deemed liable for 1 million of ASARCO clean-up costs; Stanley Jobe as material witness


"Cemex Must Foot $1M Of Asarco's Lead, Arsenic Cleanup Bill

By Jeremy Heallen

Law 360, Houston (April 01, 2014, 7:18 PM ET) -- A Texas federal judge said Monday that Cemex Inc. is responsible for a portion of about $22 million that Asacro LLC paid in environmental cleanup costs associated with a Superfund site that both companies allegedly polluted.

U.S. District Judge Philip R. Martinez ruled that Cemex must pay Asarco $1.1 million under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, to cover its share of a $22 million settlement Asarco struck with the federal government to remediate lead and arsenic contamination on a 6-acre industrial site in...

Case Information

Case Title
Asarco LLC v. Cemex Corp

Case Number
3:12-cv-00155

Court
Texas Western

Nature of Suit
Environmental Matters

Judge
Philip R. Martinez

Law360 Coverage
Cemex Must Foot $1M Of Asarco's Lead, Arsenic Cleanup Bill
Asarco Says It Didn't Waive Cemex Claim In $19M Cleanup Row
Date Filed
April 26, 2012"

"

Track this case

Case Number:
3:12-cv-00155

Court:
Texas Western

Nature of Suit:
Environmental Matters

Cause
28:1331 Fed. Question

Judge:
Philip R. Martinez

Firms
Mounce Green
Ray Valdez
Companies
Cemex, S.A.B. de C.V.
Sectors & Industries:
Industrial Goods
Cement
Complaint
View recent docket activity »
Reflects complaints, answers, motions, orders and trial notes entered from Jan. 1, 2011.
Additional or older documents may be available in Pacer.
Coverage

April 1, 2014
Cemex Must Foot $1M Of Asarco's Lead, Arsenic Cleanup Bill
A Texas federal judge said Monday that Cemex Inc. is responsible for a portion of about $22 million that Asacro LLC paid in environmental cleanup costs associated with a Superfund site that both companies allegedly polluted.
Parties

Neutral
Christopher Antcliff
Represented by:
Plaintiff
Asarco LLC
Represented by:
Nicole Jennifer Anchondo, Ray, Valdez, McChristian & Jeans, PC

Laura G. Brys, Integer Law Corporation

Gregory Evans, Integer Law Corporation

Tanya Guerrero, Integer Law Corporation

David S. Jeans, Ray, Valdez, McChristian & Jeans

William R. Pletcher, Integar Law Corporation

James G. Warren, Integer Law Corporation

Defendant
Cemex Construction Materials South, LLC
Represented by:
Andres Eduardo Almanzan, Mounce, Green, Myers, Safi, Paxson & Galatzan

Steven Lee Hughes, Attorney at Law

Walter D. James, III, Walter D. James, III, PLLC

David Moises Mirazo, Mounce, Green, Myers, Safi, Paxson & Galatzan

TERMINATED: 03/22/2013
Cemex Corp
Represented by:
Andres Eduardo Almanzan, Mounce, Green, Myers, Safi, Paxson & Galatzan

Walter D. James, III, Walter D. James, III, PLLC

Defendant
Cemex, Inc.
Represented by:
Andres Eduardo Almanzan, Mounce, Green, Myers, Safi, Paxson & Galatzan

Steven Lee Hughes, Attorney at Law

Walter D. James, III, Walter D. James, III, PLLC

David Moises Mirazo, Mounce, Green, Myers, Safi, Paxson & Galatzan

Material Witness
Stanley Pruet Jobe
Represented by:
Marjorie Wilcox Jobe, 5588 Westside Drive"

1943 thru 1946 lead smelter and/or land leased from ASARCO produced uranium used in Manhattan Project



Page 1
DOE/AL/62350-210REV. 0 COMMENT AND RESPONSEDOCUMENT FOR THE LONG-TERM SURVEILLANCE PLAN FOR THE BODO CANYON DISPOSAL SITE DURANGO, COLORADO November 1995 ASTER DISCLAIMER This report was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an agency of the United States Government. Neither the United States Government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, orprocess disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark,manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States Government or any agency thereof. The viewsand opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect th.ose of theUnited States Government or any agency thereof. 1
Page 2
COMMENT AND RESPONSE DOCUMENT FOR THE BODO CANYON DISPOSAL SITE, WRANGO, COLORADO LONG-TERM SURVEILLANCE PLAN FOR THE STATE OF COLORADO UMTRA DOCUMENT REVIEW FORM COMMENT Site: Bodo Canyon Disposal I Site. Durango. Colorado Document: Draft Lona-Term Surveillance Plan Reviewer: State of Colorado Date: June 27. 1994Comment: 1, Paae 2-1, Section 2.1 Other histories of the Durango mill site indicate the U.S. Vanadium Corporation (USV)built and operated a uranium after leasing the site from American Smelting andRefining Company (ASARCO) who had operated a lead smelter at that location. This should be confirmed and, if correct, should be clarified in the first paragraph of the site history. The first paragraph seems confused about the chronology of events. It was USV not ASARCO who built and operated the vanadium mill in 1942 and who,from 1943 to the mill's closure in 1946, reprocessed vanadium tailings to provide uranium for the Manhattan Project.

RESPONSE Page: 2-1By: C. Saumur Date: September 1995 Section 2.1, Site History, has been rewritten to read as follows: "In 1942, U.S. Vanadium Corporation leased the property and constructed a uranium processing mill on the site. This mill operated until 1946, when the mill was shutdown."

[it is commonly known that in the early days lead smelters were used to separate out uranium from parent ores]

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

1995 Asarco silver troy oz silver registers radiation

An ASARCO 1995 silver "dollar" given as a "health safety excellence" award to "Best record Mission Complex" registers 25 micro-Sv on radiation scale for factory calibrated meter, when registering for gamma/beta/alpha particles, when tested for only a few minutes.  Background radiation in El Paso TX 3 miles from Asarco smelter site usually registers almost half that (14) with same meter.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Letter to Honorable Rep. O'Rourke, U.S. House of Representatives about Asarco, US DOE wastes, and plans to build elementary school on the old lead(Pb) dump


Statement made 2/21/2014 at 3PM EST for Honorable Rep. O’Rourke’s Attention

Masters in Science 
Fully endorsed by Nobel team winner Dr. Devra Davis, author of “Secret history of Cancer”
Attended Rachel Carson's College – she wrote "Silent Spring" a key book  about the dangers of both toxic chemicals and radiation
Trained under the last PHD student for Nobel Medical Prize Winner Dr. Niko Tinbergen
Fully certified designated highly qualified Science teacher grades 8-12, also, certified to teach gifted students (UTEP, 2010)
Bachelors of Science at the Ohio State University 
Endorsed by Father of semiotics, Dr. Thomas Sebeok (on file OSU), who participated in WA D.C. panel on how to label nuclear waste sites to warn off future generations

It has come to my attention that development is planned for a 200+ acres of land on the other side of TX Interstate I-10, part of the original Asarco properties a stone’s throw away from the site of the Asarco stacks. The plans for this site are to create family homes. Under smart code development requirements they are required to build an elementary school and playground. We know per Dr. Goodell (UTEP) statement to Channel 7 KVIA that paving the Asarco site will not make the area safe for people. We know that slag gives off gases (called "off-gassing") for nearly 100 years. Some of these gases are toxic (I.e Arsenic) and cannot be smelled or tasted. We know from the Mesita School Health Study (Peer reviewed) that children growing up attending that school close to the Asarco site have a greater chance in their lifetime of getting MS. 

• Honorable Rep. Beto O’Rourke has a greater chance of getting MS from attending the Mesita School.

• Males who have MS have greater chance of passing MS to their children. 

• According to smart code Dover Kohl diagram an elementary school will be placed on top of Asarco old lead dump, which is quite large. The grading permits are in place. 

• This lead dump was created during the 1940s and 1950s and has remained undisturbed throughout the cleanup. 

• During the 1940s the UTEP (formerly College of mines, next to Asarco site) grads were at the center of the largest uranium strikes found in the Western United States.

• Asarco during those years was a custom smelter. It would smelt anything. 

• Lead smelter during those years (1940s-1950s) were used to separate out Uranium from their parent ores (i.e. Wulfenite).

• The waste material (ores) would’ve been put in the old lead dump and likely are radioactive tailings.

• Under the bankruptcy agreement, the trustee for the cleanup is not required to address radioactive waste.

• Despite 8 years of research, all government agencies (EPA, USDA, DoD, DOJ, etc) have refused any information regarding "regulated" radioactive materials going through our El Paso Asarco site. They claim no knowledge and refuse to release key invoices listed in the 73 page US DOJ EPA Asarco confidential for settlement purposes only document (now in public domain, see NYTimes 10/2006)

• The old Atomic Energy Act still protects Asarco and all involved from disclosure and liability.

• I uncovered a document from Idaho National Laboratory Library detailing how Asarco, Dupont, Engelhard were official U.S. DOE high level radioactive waste disposal contractors from places like Oakridge TN and Hanford WA during the years Asarco was burning illegal, secret hazardous waste (1998 73 page USDOJ EPA Asarco formerly confidential for settlement purposes only document)(New York Times, front page story, October 2006).

• The community has not been told all the details about what has been burned all those years and is still not being told. 

• Engelhard, Dupont, Asarco were listed in the aforementioned 1998 confidential for settlement purposes only document sludges, incinerator ashes and only God knows what else through the two El Paso Asarco con-top furnaces (that metal curled stack was shorter than the others so its smoke stayed more local – likely a 30 mile radius including Juarez Mexico, Southern New Mexico and Texas).

• We have data showing that the chemical element Hafnium is found in greater quantities amount near the stack location. Hafnium is unusual. Hafnium is commonly found in nuclear control rods. 

• In 1998 an EPA publicly announced that El Paso had the highest Beta radiation levels in the nation. Higher than Oakridge, Higher than Hanford. In October 1998, Texas suddenly decided to deny the license of the Sierra Blanca Nuclear Dump site. During that time, the media coverage on that issue of the dump was so high that thousands of people were marching at the Capitol of Mexico against the dump. Media coverage was huge. 

• By December 1998, Asarco said in the El Paso Times it was thinking about "idling" the Asarco Smelter, and it did beginning of February 1999. The plant never re-opened.  All the staff who worked at the site's steam plant are dead now, from unusual diseases, according to an unnamed supervisor. 

• I asked all the environmental agencies representatives to give me a sample of slag from the Asarco water distillation unit (it went up in flames during clean-up) rated to remove radioactive waste from the plant's process water. They refused. 

Given all this information, we know Asarco ran U.S. DOE high level radioactive waste materials through the El Paso Asarco smelter and it is likely that the old lead dump contained radioactive material. That whole area would be contaminated by Arsenic for years to come. If the powers that be still continue with development of the Asarco site as detailed recently in an El Paso Inc article by David Crowder, I plead, deeply plead, with Honorable Representative Beto O’Rourke, given his own experience attending Mesita Elementary School a mile from Asarco, that they do not allow children to grow up on any of the Asarco land. That they do not build play grounds. That they do not build an elementary school there. He of all people should understand having attended Mesita the risks that that all these children will undergo if they allow the school and playground to be built. As a certified teacher and a Christian, it deeply grieves me. It hurts my heart to watch this happen. 

Sincerely,
Heather McMurray