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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Chamizal 1967

President Lyndon Johnson on Air Force One on October 28, 1967 with Senator Wayne Morse, Senator Bourke Hickenlooper flying to Andrews Air Force Base, El Paso, Texas for the visit of President Diaz Ordaz of Mexico.

--also see "Remarks at the Chamizal Ceremony, Juarez, Mexico.
October 28th, 1967" by President Johnson:

The great Mexican patriot, Benito Juarez, said: "Respect for the rights of others is peace." That principle is the foundation stone of our hemispheric relations.....we know that the American States must stand together if we are to assure that the weak are protected, that might does not make right, that our peoples are to have the privilege of democratic choice.

The Railroad Bridge Sixteen Years later, in 1936

KFOX update on ASARCO permit

"...El Paso Mayor John Cook said in a written statement, “The City hopes the commissioners will consider all of the evidence and do the right thing for the citizens by denying the ASARCO renewal application. The international opposition to ASARCO’s permit requests cuts across all political, partisan and geographical lines – and includes federal, state, city and county elected officials, the mayors of Sunland Park, N.M, and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, local residents, prominent business owners, civic leaders, and health officials. This widespread opposition to the ASARCO renewal application is a result of ASARCO's flagrant record of non-compliance with environmental protection rules and its threat to public health.”"

Saturday, December 29, 2007

YES Magazine "The story of Stuff"

Letter to EP Times

"Asarco overstates

Asarco is probably the worst polluter in America. They have burned hazardous wastes and failed to meet the burden of proof that they would not detrimentally contribute to air quality in the El Paso area.

In addition, they are currently being assessed for legitimate IBWC liability claims in bankruptcy court. Common sense tells us that air quality effects soil and water, and that Asarco's proposed allowable per TCEQ permit No. 20345 would harm air, soil and water.

In response to Bob Litle's Dec. 12 letter, The IBWC is, too, an "affected party," because the smelter runs next to the Rio Grande and American Canal: a substantial source of our water. Further, the "legacy of environmental claims," against Asarco, has everything "to do with the permit renewal process," and disconnecting the facts only obscures the truth.

Asarco plant manager Litle's letter does not deny that Asarco is indeed environmentally liable, or even contesting the $27 million in liability. He is merely suggesting that environmental claims were "overstated."

However, by doing so he doesn't deny the actual damage that was done, he only denies the interpretations of that damage, and nothing more.

Scott Comar
Central El Paso"

Friday, December 28, 2007


"TCEQ Finally Sets Asarco Hearing   by Khushroo Ghadiali
The long-awaited hearing that could determine the fate of the Asarco smelter has finally been set by the TCEQ in Austin.
Posted on December 28, 2007
TCEQ Finally Sets Asarco Hearing
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, or TCEQ, has announced a hearing date for ASARCO’s appeal. The hearing, scheduled for Feb. 13, will be held in Austin.
This comes after Bruce Manvell, the investigator for the County Attorney's office replied to TCEQ’sletter of Dec 17 asking the TCEQ, in writing, to determine whether criminal prosecution against Asarco is warranted, and to explain why or why not.
NPT seeking a clarification of the letter was told that the agency would not comment any further. A spokeswoman for the agency said "What the executive director said (in the letter) is what we're going to say."   "

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

New Mexico URANIUM mining and milling waste waiting for disposal :: Camino Real Landfill on Rio Grande (Sunland Park N.M.) has hidden clause allowing disposal of URANIUM Mining and milling waste with approval of the State...

[is it a coincidence that Camino Real Landfill hearing experts were lobbyists and experts from the Nuclear disposal industry; and, that a "however" clause in its permit would allow the disposal of toxic uranium mining and milling wastes next-to/on our water supply?]

"...The colorful printout of the abandoned [URANIUM] mines and mill sites was the size of a conference table. The most contaminated site was ranked number one. It known to those who live there as Coyote Canyon [New Mexico].

With the data so clearly showing that Coyote Canyon posed a danger to residents, the EPA moved the Nez family and others into temporary shelters. Workers began cleaning up--basically digging up a foot of soil and stockpiling it at the United Nuclear Corporation site next to the Nezes' property. General Electric, which now owns the property, was supposed to haul the soil away and safely dispose of it.

When I visit Coyote Canyon in August 2007, the Nezes are back home, and the place doesn't look the same. I drive past the hogan where Bertha's father lived. The flags are gone; the dirt surrounding the octagonal structure has been scraped. So has the earth around the Nezes' home and horse corral.

But the massive mound of contaminated earth, which the EPA had covered in heavy black plastic, has not been moved. The plastic is torn and blowing in the wind, along with fine particles of contaminated soil--a threat to the Navajos that seems, in my mind, a metaphor for the nuclear waste problem downstream."

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

DAY 13

There is a small "however" in the PROHIBITED SUBSTANCES section of the Camino Real landfill that would let them (with state authorization - but they can't state what that means) accept radioactive Uranium mining wastes and milling wastes into this landfill.

V.P. Mr. Little actually went home Monday from the hearing and it is Exec. V.P. Mr. Bob (Robert D.) Evans, general counsel to Waste Connnections Inc. who is here since late Monday evening. He has a law degree from Berkley CA and a background in economics. When he went to work for WCN in 2002 he quit his general partnership in a large CA law firm. He has sat through all the testimonies and questions since then.

There is also a UTEP Economist here.

Do you want uranium mining waste in a landfill on the Rio Grande that will supply drinking water? Come and listen. The meeting starts at 8:30 AM at DESERT VIEW ELEMENTARY SCHOOL in sunland park in the morning. Tonight it is at the Parrish Hall and they don't know how long it will go.

The Judge is Honorable Rudy Apodaca and his hearing-fees are posted on his website.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Landfill hearing

... if you are a reporter and you are not covering this landfill
hearing, you are missing a humdinger of a story.

DAY 12

The V.P. (Mr. J.M.Little) for Waste Control inc. (owner of El Paso Disposal, the Camino Real Landfill, and involved in the Andrews County Nuclear facilty) arrived last evening and has stayed through the day.

Waste Control Inc. (ticker WCN) makes about one billion in revenue a year; and has profits of about 1/4 of that.

This morning NMED (nm envir. dept) cabinet sec. Ms. Cindy Padilla was here to testify and announced that of yesterday she has a different Cabinet position (aging).

Meetings will continue to be held at the Catholic church community center Wednesday (end of sunland park rd, north on mcnutt - on the left) and after that it is likely to be at a school, perhaps desert elementary through friday. Usually it is 8 am to 9 pm. Last evening it went through 11 pm. It is cold - wear a warm coat (no heat except a few space heaters and a propane picnic heater).

Profits to the landfill from maquiladoras is declining year to year because of movement of companies to China one expert said; hypothetically it seems as if the landfill will need to find other revenue streams for Waste Control Inc.

They claim that although they deal with radioactive/toxic wastes that they don't need a non hazmat landfill. That is what they say.

Camino Real Landfill Hearing Day 11

Today the hearing ran from 9 am through 11 PM - we got an hour for lunch and one hour for dinner. The propane heater had disappeared but the opposing party went out and bought another.

We covered geological faulting today. NMED (NM Envir. dept) wasn't willing to accept evidence of the surface faulting even when a lot of the research came from Petroleum company and Asarco's own consulting company.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Malaysia : toxic waste in landfill

DAY 10 (Yesterday - Saturday) of the Camino Real Dump Hearing

At the hearing (it was at Desert View for just Saturday) the Judge berated a few people for getting started after 8:30 AM, skipped lunch and ran the hearing through to 10 P.M.   The Landfill attorneys provided soda and pizza at lunchtime.     There was a dinner break. 

The interpreters left at 9:30 pm (a bit hoarse), but instead of recessing, the Judge granted the opposing party's request to go to 10 PM, which meant that the retired attorney had to do Cross Examination at the end of a 14 hour day.  He was given only 30 minutes to cross-examine the Border Health guy.

One El Paso resident told the Judge, during a break, that the Judge was biased (which you don't do to a Judge) and was told to leave. 

Tomorrow the hearing moves back to the Catholic Church community center, just west of Sunland Park Drive where it dead-ends onto McNutt Rd.  It will start at 8 am, I think - although it is possible that the Judge said 9 am, since the sound-crew has to re-install all the equipment.

If you live in Texas or Mexico you should DEFINITELY attend these last few days of the hearing because the lady lobbyist from the opposing team last week pretty much said that all that matters is New Mexico and New Mexicans.   The dump sits up-river from your water supply, and within the 10 mile area-shed of most of the west side of El Paso.  They are not telling us what Asarco dumped there; also said that to let the invoices about Asarco zinc-plant demolition material being dumped there into evidence would be incriminating.

Workers-on-strike came to the meeting and now, since they lost their jobs and are not afraid to speak anymore, were telling about regularly dumping medical wastes and dead animals at the dump.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Day NINE of the Grueling Marathon Hearing

The community of Sunland Park moves into DAY NINE of the grueling
marathon hearing at the Parrish Hall (Community Center), Catholic church
off of McNutt just west of the Sunland Park Intersection.

The audience learned that the people representing the Landfill work for
the nuclear and waste industry, lobbying for dumps in poor and
disadvantaged communities. A N.M. supreme court decision had ruled that
the state must consider the cumulative impact of industries on a
community when siting a new one. The Camino Real dump does not want to
have the impact from ASARCO considered when renewing the Landfill's permit.

The Hearing Days run from 8 to 9 PM daily, including Saturdays. Sunland
Park is represented by a volunteer group and retired attorney.

The hall is unheated except for 2 space heaters and a propane picnic
heater. The chairs are metal and cold for the audience. There is no
pay for the volunteers, or monies for exhibits, copying, gasoline etc.

The opposing team for the Landfill has two law firms with a total of
over 80 attorneys. The witnesses yesterday had two attorneys, and no
medical doctors.

It is possible that the dump leaks water into the aquifer and Rio Grande
and it is not possible to determine what has been dumped there. The
Landfill wants to renew their permit for 10 more years.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Camino Real Dump Hearing: Thursday

Many of the affected parties and attorneys went on a Dump tour, and the proceedings started later at the community center. It was warmer, the Dump attorneys had bought a huge number of seat cushions at WalMart, so that many regular attendees could use those and be warmer than sitting on a metal chair ... but many still came who had no cushions. The central heating fan is off because of long-term construction.

One after another the residents of the region came forward to speak about esophageal cancers, lung cancer, eye surgeries, diabetes (which we now know is regulated by a 2nd hormone produced in bones), asthma, a feeling of being smothered, not being able to swallow, overly/unusual dry skin, and other problems that occur at high rates. They were worried about the dust, the odors, the dripping-fluids from the waste-trucks headed toward the dump (dump doesn't accept fluids), and the drinking-water.

IBWC Filed $27 Million Contamination Claim Against Asarco

"by NPT Staff

NPT presents three bankruptcy court documents related to a $27 million claim for contamination of IBWC property adjacent to Asarco. The IBWC cites a "potential threat to the Rio Grande," a source of drinking and irrigation water for El Paso.

Posted on December 5, 2007

Editor's note: The following is to be heard by bankruptcy court Dec. 7. The three court documents -- linked to below these brief excerpts -- relate to a $27 million claim by the International Boundary and Water Commission against Asarco for contamination on IBWC property.


Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Camino Real Dump Hearing

The hearing started this morning and will run 8 AM to 9PM from today through Saturday and then next week Monday through Saturday at the Catholic church community center on McNutt just west of the Sunland Park road intersection. The community center is unheated, the chairs are hard and metal and the center was never designed for 13 hour marathons in the wintertime.

Despite objections from all of us without money and health insurance (for the antibiotics to cure us when we all get sick from this) the hearing continues as planned through this holiday season.

We unpaid and affected community members are facing two law firms - one with 40 local attorneys alone.

Governor Richardson's environmental Justice in action, folks. God help us all.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Border in 1989, when ENCYCLE began

(published 2004)

Lead particulates in air at UTEP monitor site

Lead: (quarterly mean in micrograms/cubic meter) El Paso, TX
All the data points are from the East Robinson UTEP monitor site.
This is a chart of the quarterly Pb (lead) readings for the eleven years.

The values begin to get smaller after the smelter closed, in 2/1999

Sunday, November 25, 2007

United Press International publishes Forecast: U.S. dollar could plunge 90 pct

By UPI  11/24/07 -- -, Nov. 19 (UPI) -- A financial crisis will likely send the U.S. dollar into a free fall of as much as 90 percent...
The Panic of 2008 will lead to a lower U.S. standard of living, he said."....

Financial Depression of 1873
Townsend builds the smelter 1887

1929: Great Depression
1929-1933 "
At the height of the Great Depression, Smeltertown spanned about 25 acres and the population had grown to about 5,000 residents."

1930's : "[Asarco's] company's recovery was aided by President Franklin D. Roosevelt's silver-purchase plan and his devaluation of the dollar, which caused the prices of precious metals to rise."

since 2001 a Russian smelter has illegally smelted radioactive scrap

"ECOMET-S has illegally melted thousands of tons of radioactive scrap metal from the LNPP as well as 150 tons of scrap metal from the Chepetsk Mechanical Plant (the city of Glazov, Udmurt Republic, Volga basin)."

from 1989: Tin smelter at Hull in Britain discharges radioactive polonium (LEAD) from stack

"DISCHARGES of radioactivity and other forms of pollution from Europe's biggest tin smelter at Hull in Britain are not to blame for causing abnormally high numbers of childhood cancers in villages close to the site, according to Britain's pollution 'police'.

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Pollution cleared the Capper Pass complex on Humberside, pictured here, of blame last week in a report that describes one of the most detailed investigations ever undertaken by the organisation's air pollution and radiochemical inspectors.

The chimney at the plant, which is 180 metres high, discharges radioactive polonium-210 [LEAD/Pb] as well as a cocktail of other toxic pollutants including antimony, arsenic, cadmium, lead, tin and zinc.

The inspectorate says that, on the basis of environmental data, predictions of dispersion patterns, radiological assessments and epidemio-logical studies, there is no evidence to link unusually high incidence of leukemia in the area with radioactive pollution from the plant. The report concludes that with the exception of cadmium, the concentrations of pollutants would not be expected to damage health.

From issue 1658 of New Scientist magazine, 01 April 1989"

Smelting radioactive material

Fri, 31 Aug 2007 14:38:05 GMT
Johannesburg - South Africa's Environment Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk on Friday gave the green light for the construction of a smelter for radioactive nuclear waste at the site of the Pelindaba nuclear facility outside Pretoria. The facility would be used to process about 140,000 tons of waste of varying levels of radioactivity, said van Schalkwyk. No "viable alternative" for treating nuclear waste in South Africa had been found, he said in his written decision. Some of the radioactive metal equipment used in South Africa's secretive apartheid-era uranium enrichment programme, under which it developed six and a half nuclear bombs, are to be melted down. The green light for the smelter came despite objections from residents and anti-nuclear and environmental activists. South Africa recently approved plans to resume uranium enrichment. The country has a nuclear-fired electricity plant at Koeberg near Cape Town."

1976 Jun 01 Feasibility study of a portable smelter for scrap metals

"The use of a portable smelter to process uranium-contaminated scrap metals was studied.^Objectives were to convert scrap metal located at many diverse sites into a form which would be suitable for unlicensed sale and reduce the problems associated with storing the scrap.^The Foundry Design Company study indicated the portable smelter concept was feasible from an equipment and transportation standpoint.^Capital costs for a 5-ton/hour (steel) nominal capacity unit were estimated to be $2,349,000.^Technical evaluation indicates that all the common metals considered, i.e., iron, nickel, copper, and aluminum, are amenable to uranium decontamination by smelting except aluminum.^An economic evaluation of the processing of the 30,000 tons of steel scrap to be generated by the Cascade Improvement Program by a portable smelter was made based upon information supplied by Foundry Design Company, plus the assumption that the product metal could be sold for $120.00 per ton.^This evaluation indicated a net return of $2,424,000 to the government could be realized.^The Health and Safety study indicated no major problems of this nature would be encountered in operating a portable smelter.^The legal review indicated the proposed operation fell within the authority of existing regulations.^Consideration of possible conflicts with regard to competition with the private sector was suggested.^(DLC)"

Friday, November 23, 2007

Prenatal Arsenic Exposure Detected In Newborns

Prenatal Arsenic Exposure Detected In Newborns

ScienceDaily (Nov. 23, 2007) — MIT researchers have found that the children of mothers whose water supplies were contaminated with arsenic during their pregnancies harbored gene expression changes that may lead to cancer and other diseases later in life. In addition to establishing the potential harmful effects of these prenatal exposures, the new study also provides a possible method for screening populations to detect signs of arsenic contamination.

This is the first time evidence of such genome-wide changes resulting from prenatal exposure has ever been documented from any environmental contaminant. It suggests that even when water supplies are cleaned up and the children never experience any direct exposure to the pollutant, they may suffer lasting damage.

The evidence comes from studies of 32 mothers and their children in a province of Thailand that experienced heavy arsenic contamination from tin mining. Similar levels of arsenic are also found in many other regions, including the US Southwest.

The research was led by Mathuros Ruchirawat, Director of the Laboratory of Environmental Toxicology of the Chulabhorn Research Institute (CRI) in Thailand, and Leona D. Samson, Director of MIT's Center for Environmental Health Sciences (CEHS) and the American Cancer Society Professor in the Departments of Biological Engineering and Biology at MIT. The first author of the study is Rebecca C. Fry, a research scientist at CEHS. Coauthors include Panida Navasumrit of the CRI and Chandni Valiathan, graduate student at MIT's Computational and Systems Biology Initiative.

The team analyzed blood that had been collected from umbilical cords at birth. The exposure of mothers to arsenic during their pregnancy was independently determined by analyzing toenail clippings -- the most reliable way of detecting past arsenic exposure.

The team found a collection of about 450 genes whose expression had been turned on or turned off in babies who had been exposed to arsenic while in the womb. That is, these genes had either become significantly more active (in most cases) or less active than in unexposed babies.

"We were looking to see whether we could have figured out that these babies were exposed in utero" just by using the gene expression screening on the stored blood samples, Samson says. "The answer was a resounding yes."

Further, the team found that a subset of just 11 of these genes could be used as a highly reliable test for determining whether babies had been born to mothers exposed to arsenic during pregnancy. Since blood samples are already taken routinely for medical tests this may provide an easier way of screening for such exposure.

The gene expression changes the group found in the exposed children are mostly associated with inflammation, which can lead to increased cancer risk. Recognizing the damaging effects of the arsenic exposure, "the government has provided alternative water sources" to the affected villages, Fry says, which means that following these children as they grow older (they are now toddlers) has the potential to show how long-lasting the effects of the prenatal exposure may be. However, she adds, this may be complicated by the fact that many people are still using the local water for cooking.

It's not yet clear how long the changes may last. "We will be testing whether these gene expression changes have persisted in these children," Fry says.

This is the first time such a response to prenatal arsenic exposure has been found in humans. But it is not entirely unexpected, Samson explains, because "in mice, when mothers are transiently exposed to arsenic in the drinking water, their progeny, in their adult life, are much more cancer-prone."

Further research could include studies of possible ways of reversing or mitigating the damage, perhaps through dietary changes, nutritional supplements, or drug treatments to counteract the gene expression changes.

Also, the group plans to do follow-up studies in different locations and with larger groups of subjects to confirm the value of the 11 "marker" genes as a reliable indicator of arsenic exposure. The researchers also aim to determine whether the gene expression changes are specific to arsenic.

This study is an example of the CEHS's efforts to promote collaborative interdisciplinary research into global environmental health issues, specifically in the developing world.

The research will be reported in the Nov. 23 issue of PLoS Genetics.

This research was funded by the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences and the Chulabhorn Research Institute.

Adapted from materials provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2007, November 23). Prenatal Arsenic Exposure Detected In Newborns. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2007, from­ /releases/2007/11/071122225245.htm
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What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.
Albert Pine

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Newspaper Tree replies to El Paso Inc.

By misrepresenting the source of the assertions, the Inc misrepresents the significance and context of the report, a fundamental error. Taking the GAO report on military hazwaste and Asarco out of context, the Inc defends itself with an ...

By Newspaper Tree
Media Watch: A Dear Tom Letter to Fenton, El Paso Inc

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Texas Observer article on County Attorney investigation of Asarco

No Wall Will Stop the Wave

Texas Observer - Austin,TX,USA

Litle has extremely quick response to ACORN press release - and no one is talking about the unknown TOXIC WASTE

ACORN v. Asarco

by NPT Staff

Dueling news releases from ACORN and from Asarco.

Posted on November 16, 2007

Editor's note: NPT received these two news releases, the first from the group ACORN Thursday Nov. 15, 2007, the second from Asarco the following day


Nov. 15, Acorn

Thursday, November 15, 2007 Contact:
Jose Manuel Escobedo, Head Organizer

EPA to Adopt New Lead Air Standards in 2008
Health professionals weigh in on new rules impact on
Asarco application for air quality permit

EL PASO – The US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) lead expert panel has set standards more protective of public health. These new standards will directly impact Asarco’s Air Permit Application. Below is a summary of these impacts over the next ten months.

1. EPA is under a court order to adopt a new final lead air standard by September 1, 2008.

2. The new lead air standard will be no higher than 0.2 ug/m^3 and as low as 0.05 ug/m^3. The current standard is 1.5 ug/m^3.

3. ASARCO's newest air model said it would meet the highest end of the new lead standard, but it also suggests that ASARCO will have no margin of safety and the new lead air standard could be tighter than ASARCO's air modeling of 0.2 ug/m^3 meaning the smelter can not comply.

4. The new EPA lead air standard may be based on monthly averaging which would be more protective and more stringent than the current Lead NAAQS using quarterly averaging. ASARCO's air modeling is based on quarterly averaging and not monthly averaging.

5. The EPA is planning to issue the new lead proposal in March 2008, to
provide the public ample time to comment. Public comment period will
follow later in the spring.

6. EPA is required by a consent decree to issue a public proposal regarding the
lead standards by May 1, 2008.

WHO: El Paso County Medical Society, ACORN, Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid, representative from Senator Shapleigh’s office and available for questions via phone: Neil Carmen, Clean Air Program Director, Lone Star Chapter – Sierra Club, Philip Landrigan, MD, MSc – Chair, Department of Community and Preventative Medicine, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine

WHAT: Press Conference: Impact of new EPA rules on Asarco application for air permit
WHEN: Friday, November 16th, 1:30 PM
WHERE: 220 Lawton. Corner of Lawton and Mundy, outside of Vilas School
IN CASE OF RAIN: At the gazebo at Mundy Park at Porfirio Diaz and Yandell
WHY: To discuss impact of new EPA rules on Asarco application for air permit


ACORN is the nation's largest community organization of low- and – moderate income families, with over 300,000 member families organized into 800 neighborhood chapters in 108 cities across the country. Since 1970 ACORN has taken action and won victories on issues of concern to our members, including better housing for first-time homebuyers and tenants, living wages for low-wage workers, more investment in our communities from banks and governments, and better public schools.


Nov. 16, Asarco


November 16, 2007

For additional information:

Teresa Montoya

Montoya PR



From Robert “Bob” Litle, El Paso Plant Manager

The same small group of opponents continues to use scare tactics and misinformation in their campaign against Asarco.

The facts are:

1. It is old news that the EPA is reviewing the current National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for lead for the entire country, not just El Paso. The NAAQS are air quality standards established to be protective of the most vulnerable populations – senior citizens and children.

2. El Paso’s air is already far better than the current NAAQS for lead. In fact, El Paso has been in attainment for lead since the mid-eighties.

3. Asarco’s allowable emissions are better than the current standard and better than ACORN’S numbers presented in their press release according to the most extensive air modeling ever completed which encompasses 30 miles of our plant including El Paso, Juarez, and New Mexico.

4. The scientific data shows that there will not be any negative health effects from Asarco’s allowable lead emissions.


Nov. 16, Acorn

EPA to Adopt New Lead Air Standards in 2008
Health professionals weigh in on new rules impact on
Asarco application for air quality permit

In a Follow up to today’s press conference outlining how new EPA rules will affect Asarco’s air permit application, we add the following comments:

As we know, the EPA is recommending a new, stricter standard that may be as low as .05 micrograms per cubic meter and as high as .20 micrograms per cubic meter. ASARCO claims that their modeling indicates that they will meet a new standard of .20 micrograms per cubic meter based on monthly averages. However, even if the EPA adopts a new standard of .20 micrograms per cubic meter, our region will risk being in non-attainment. This is because of
background lead concentrations in El Paso. According to ASARCO, those background concentrations are .07 micrograms per cubic meter. Once added to Asarco’s emissions, the total ambient lead in El Paso County would be .27 micrograms per cubic meter: we would not be in compliance and the County would once again be in non-attainment for the lead NAAQS.

For reference questions please call:

Neil Carman, Ph.D., Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club, 512-288-0042

Verónica Carbajal, Attorney, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc. (TRLA), 915-585-5107


ACORN is the nation's largest community organization of low- and – moderate income families, with over 300,000 member families organized into 800 neighborhood chapters in 108 cities across the country. Since 1970 ACORN has taken action and won victories on issues of concern to our members, including better housing for first-time homebuyers and tenants, living wages for low-wage workers, more investment in our communities from banks and governments, and better public schools.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Still no mention of looking for the undisclosed TOXIC WASTE from ASARCO...

Acorn on New EPA Air Standards as Applied to Asarco
Newspaper Tree - El Paso,TX,USA
These new standards will directly impact Asarco's Air Permit Application. Below is a summary of these impacts over the next ten months. 1. ...

Press Conference - Impact of New EPA Rules on ASARCO Application ...
By Texas RioGrande Legal Aid
WHAT: Press Conference: Impact of new EPA rules on Asarco application for air permit WHEN: Friday, November 16th, 1:30 PM WHERE: 220 Lawton. Corner of Lawton and Mundy, outside of Vilas School IN CASE OF RAIN: At the gazebo at Mundy ...

Monday, November 12, 2007

Conspiracies of Silence

Letters published in the Times
El Paso Times Staff
Article Launched: 11/11/2007 12:00:00 AM MST

Silent on Asarco hazardous waste

Conspiracies of silence have for too long concealed Asarco's dismal health impact history. In an El Paso Times article, published Oct. 16, Asarco lawyers deny the city's accusation that Asarco smelted hazardous wastes. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) was silent during the controversy.

During Mayor Raymond Caballero's administration, his Environmental Task Force discovered a relevant internal memorandum at TCEQ's local office. The memorandum revealed that manifests of Asarco's alleged "recyclable" wastes under the TCEQ's jurisdiction had been impeached during the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) investigation.

The integrity of reports on Asarco's cargo manifests had been violated. When the EPA confronted the TCEQ employee responsible for inspecting Asarco's cargo manifests, he testified, on the advice of TCEQ's Austin attorneys, that he did not have the time or personnel to conduct a proper inspection. This striking disclosure presents unanswered questions about the quality, quantity, source etc., of Asarco's wastes.

This poses a more serious question. Was this failure over a long period of years a sign of a silent conspiracy?

Joe Piñón

Sunday, November 11, 2007

TENORM and NORM Waste: Problems in the Texas oil system near Dallas/Ft.Worth

Faces against the Dump today at 3 PM

Please gather today at 3PM at the Sunland Park Desert View Elementary

People from the Sunland Park Grassroots environmental group, Colonias
Development Council, and others will gather for a photo against the
Regional Camino Real Landfill (DUMP), which is trying to renew a
ten-year permit.

This Dump is located on our water supply (the Rio Grande) just hundreds
of feet above the aquifer that feeds the Hueco Bolson at the Paso del
Norte; and right on an international border (despite the La Paz accord
(agreement) to not turn the border into a dump.)

The Dump is starting a methane-to-energy project. Only about 50% of the
gases coming off the dump are methane, we think -- the rest, only the
almighty apparently knows. Beneath the dirt at the dump lie toxic
waste recently disclosed by Phelps Dodge; and, loads of Zinc-stack
demolition debris from ASARCO (taken down during the Toxic-waste burning
years). The Dump accepts commercial waste from USA industries in Cd.
Juarez and El Paso and at least one person has seen a truck come here as
far away as Chicago...

Please come and stand with everyone.

Gas drilling's dirty side effect: Radioactive material....

Gas drilling’s dirty side effect: Radioactive material brought up from Barnett Shale during production
10:01 AM CST on Sunday, November 11, 2007 By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe / Staff Writer
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first in a series of four stories on radioactive material generated by natural gas production in the Barnett Shale.

In Denton, Tarrant and Wise counties, all kinds of equipment — from pipes and separators to frac and brine-hauling tanks — have been decontaminated in [just] the past two years.

Texas Railroad Commission rules allow the industry to self-monitor for NORM, and many operators are slow to decontaminate the radioactive residue because of its cost, industry insiders say. Furthermore, only two of nearly 200 operators registered with the commission in the Barnett Shale’s core counties — Key Energy Services and Devon Energy — have provided for such decontamination in the past two years."

"Statewide, 140 such sites were decontaminated from January 2005 to the present, according to documents obtained from the Department of State Health Services, which oversees decontamination of the state’s hottest radioactive waste."

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Radioactivity found in the Copper Belt

"V. Enhanced pollution due to technological processing. Waste elements that are put into the waste heaps release toxins into the environment, in an affect called “technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive materials” (TENORM) by Environmental Protection Agency. In other words, when you bring toxic metals, which are buried in the ground with no potential to harm human health, to the surface, put them in waste dumps exposed to the air, and subject them to various technological processes, there is a potential for adverse affects on human health. This is particularly true in Arizona where there are abundant deposits of radioactive metals and poisonous arsenic. In 1999, Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D. C. published a report on this uranium and radioactive chemicals in the “Copper Belt” of Southern Arizona. Following is an excerpt from that report:

Nearly all rocks, soils, thorium, radium, radioisotopes,naturally occurring radioactive purposefully or inadvertently technologically enhanced naturally as any naturally occurring human exposure has been activities (NAS, 1999). . . .

Levels in excess of the federal MCLs and state guidelines were found in groundwater and surface water samples, as well as soil and sediment samples at abandoned and active copper mines. TENORM exceedences were also found in groundwater at active and inactive copper mines. Uranium byproducts were recovered from heap leach dumps and in-situ operations that feed SX-EW and ion exchange circuits at several copper mines. Radioactivity was discovered in copper mineral processing waste streams. Elevated levels of radioactivity were also found to occur in the process solutions and process wastes."

For entire report, see:

TENORM waste

"Only a crude estimate can be made of the annual total 226Ra activity transferred from oil reservoirs to the surface. A United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) study of 10 oil production wells analysed scale and sludge production rates. (11) The amount estimated was about 250m3 for a period of 20 years. The resulting amount of waste generated by one oil-producing well per year is about 2.25 tons, using a waste density of 1.8 tonnes.m-3. In order to derive an average 226Ra activity concentration, the same study used results of a large number of external gamma readings (6,274) taken in several oil production facilities and converted these to the activity concentration. There is a significant uncertainty attached to such a procedure because of the effects of equipment wall thickness, self-absorption of the radiation in the scale and thickness of the scale, and distribution of radium within the scale. The published average radium concentration was 4.6Bqg-1. Hence, the resulting estimate of total 226Ra activity brought to the surface is 918GBq per year. Similar studies are due to be undertaken in oil and gas-extracting facilities in other parts of the world, so an average 226Ra activity brought to the surface per year can be derived with any degree of certainty."

TENORM waste from metals used in pipelines (gas)

"TENORM [technologically enhanced/concentrated naturally occurring radioactive material] contamination levels in equipment varied widely among types of equipment and geographic region. The geographic areas with the highest equipment readings were northern Texas and the gulf coast crescent from southern Louisiana and Mississippi to the Florida panhandle. Very low levels of TENORM were found in California, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, and northern Kansas.

According to an API industry-wide survey, approximately 64 percent of the gas producing equipment and 57 percent of the oil production equipment showed radioactivity at or near background levels. TENORM radioactivity levels tend to be highest in water handling equipment. Average exposure levels for this equipment were between 30 to 40 micro Roentgens per hour (μR/hr), which is about 5 times background. Gas processing equipment with the highest levels include the reflux pumps, propane pumps and tanks, other pumps, and product lines. Average radiation levels for this equipment as between 30 to 70 μR/hr. Exposures from some oil production and gas processing equipment exceeded 1 mR/hr.

Gas plant processing equipment is generally contaminated on the surface by lead-210 (Pb-210). However, TENORM may also accumulate in gas plant equipment from radon (Rn-222) gas decay. Radon gas is highly mobile. It originates in underground formations and dissolves in the organic petroleum areas of the gas plant. It concentrates mainly in the more volatile propane and ethane fractions of the gas.

Gas plant scales differ from oil production scales, typically consisting of radon decay products which accumulate on the interior surfaces of plant equipment. Radon itself decays quickly, (its half-life is 3.8 days). As a result, the only radionuclides that affect disposal are the radon decay products polonium-210 (Po-210) and lead-210. Polonium-210 is an alpha emitter with a half-life of 140 days. Pb-210 is a weak beta and gamma emitter with a half-life of 22 years.

Disposal and Reuse: Past Practices:  Recycling of Metals
Before the accumulation of TENORM in oil production equipment was recognized, contaminated materials were occasionally recycled for use in making steel products....

Disposal and Reuse:  Current Practices -Recycling of Metals:

Now that the petroleum industry is aware of the potential for contamination, they take a number of precautions before recycling:

Loads of scrap metal are surveyed for hidden radioactive sources and TENORM.
Piping and equipment are cleaned before release for recycling at smelters.
Pollution control devices, such as filters and bubblers, are installed in smelter stacks to reduce airborne radiation releases.
Although much of the NORM-contaminated equipment is presently stored in controlled areas, some companies are now cleaning the equipment and proposing to store it at designated disposal sites.

Asarco a Defense Contractor in 2003 ...

FY 2003 DoD Contractors [PAGE] 32


Copper Ore containing Uranium dumped into Congo River: Officials arrested for the dumping of Toxic Waste

"At least seven people are said to be under arrest in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after radioactive mineral waste was poured into a river in the southeast of the country. Selah Hennessy reports from the VOA West and Central Africa bureau in Dakar that teams are currently working to rid the river of the waste.
Didace Pembe, Congo's environment minister, says the official who ordered the toxic waste to be dumped has been arrested.
According to local reporter Eddy Isango, seven people from the commission in charge of disposing the minerals are also under arrest.
On Wednesday, the government ordered an inquiry after officials in the southeast province of Katanga said tons of radioactive minerals had been dumped into Mura River, a source of drinking water for the nearby mining town Likasi. The town has a population of around 300,000.
Pembe says the waste has radiation levels 50 times more than the legal standard for safety.
He says the population is being informed through local radio and TV channels not to use the water for drinking, bathing, or for gardening.
He adds that clean up at the site has begun.
Congolese authorities had originally ordered the nearly twenty tons of copper ore containing uranium samples to be dumped in an abandoned uranium mine.
But Pembe says the majority of the toxic minerals were dumped in the river instead.  He says officials are tracing some waste that might have been dumped elsewhere.
Most of the copper ore belongs to the Chinese firm Magma-Lubumbashi.  The environment minister says the company did not request the waste to be dumped in the river."

[Fwd: Letter to the Editor]

[the 11-11 to 11-17 EPinc is on the stands, and they never published my letter in reply to their incorrect release of GAO stuff (or replied), so here goes...]

Dear El Paso Inc. Editor:
In the November 4-10 Issue of your paper, Mike Mrkvicka wrote that "Feds find Asarco clean on hazmat charges". When queried, your office refused to release the 42-page GAO report that your reporter, Mike, claims to have obtained.

Since that unreleasable-report is Mike's basis for reducing my credibility (and the credibility of the EPA and Federal Dept. of Justice people who authored the 73 page 1998 Secret-Asarco-Settlement-Document that we released last October 2006) in your newspaper, I decided to phone the people at the GAO in charge of the investigation at the Department of Natural Resources and Environment and read the report for myself: I talked with the Chief Operating Officer's office and also the Director in charge of all the different Departments. They haven't finished any report yet. They did send a draft to the DOD and the EPA asking for comments on whether the content was true or not. They told me that your article was not correct because of this; and that also the report will not be an investigative report but simply a process-review of the handling of these military materials. They said that they will have to release their final report earlier than they intended to, so that people can read the actual findings directly from the GAO.

Since your paper often releases very good information, I can only assume that you were given this media piece by some folks representing Asarco's interests, and that you trusted them. But, it appears that your paper and our community, including Asarco, needs to wait until the final report is actually issued to read what is actually said. Even then, we need to realize that the GAO is not investigating the smelter's burning of toxic waste, but instead is looking at the military process of handling wastes.

Friday, November 9, 2007

A Poem

The air is fragile like dried leaves
the oxygen scatters
broken by the dust
They don't tell us the poisons
falling settling gently into place
on our mountains
for the next rain
flowing with the water
faster pouring raging down the arroyos
the roads
the rooftops
into our river
A glass poised beneath the faucet
is a great water filter
is the grasshopper singing in the wind
while ants
gather the hazmat
and carry it into our bones
the survivors
left to fight over the few hundred jobs
the money
the power
a poisoned people provide

do you live in the Paso del Norte
do you live
in denial?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

estimates of how much NORM waste will be produced the next 20 years...

"Radionuclides are known to be associated with organic materials in nature; therefore, oil, gas, and oil field brines frequently contain radioactive materials. These materials accumulate in piping used to remove and process petroleum and natural gas. The EPA estimates that about 8 million metric tons of NORM waste will be produced by the gas and oil industry over the next 20 years.
NORM have been found in geothermal wells. According to EPA estimates, the geothermal industry may generate up to 1.4 million metric tons over the next 20 years. ..... The EPA estimates that over 6 million metric tons of drinking water purification materials containing NORM will be generated over the next 20 years."

NORM (Naturally Occurring Radioactive materials - generally concentrated in mechanical processes)  could include:  isotopes of uranium, thorium, carbon, potassium, polonium, lead, radon

Please show support- Weather Network is proposing an Environment Network

".... the parent company of The Weather
 Network has submitted an application for a new TV channel, The Environment
 Network.  This channel will broadcast environmentally related content
 exclusively, 24 hours a day.

 In order to help push this application through, letters of support need to
 be sent to the CRTC by November 15, 07.

 Details regarding the letter can be found at Thanks Jed Goldberg President Earth Day Canada 111 Peter Street Suite 503 Toronto  ON  M5V 2H1 v - +416.599.1991 ext 111 f -  +416.599.3100 The word mark "Earth Day" and the Earth Day logo are registered trademarks of Earth Day Canada (1991) Inc. Charitable registration # 13195 1378RR0001. Use of either of these trademarks for mercantile, promotional and communications purposes is strictly forbidden without the written approval of Earth Day Canada."

Sierra Club sues ASARCO through EarthJustice....

"Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Environmental Groups to Sue EPA Over Mine Cleanup
An environmental group (**) is planning to sue the federal government over billions of dollars in cleanup costs at polluted mines. Earhjustice says it is filing a notice to sue the Environmental Protection Agency. The suit is being filed on behalf of four conservation groups. The idea is to make it harder for mining companies and other industries to avoid costly cleanups by declaring bankruptcy. Earthjustice says Asarco is the most far-reaching example of irresponsible mining operations. Asarco declared bankruptcy in 2005, leaving behind 94 Superfund sites in 21 states, with a total cleanup cost estimated at more than $1 billion. That’s far more than the $100 million trust the company set aside for cleanup. Last week the US House approved the Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act. Among other things, the bill requires mines to post a bond to cover future cleanup costs before receiving a permit to mine on public lands. Arizona’s House delagation split on the measure. Republicans opposed it and Democrats backed it."

"November 6, 2007

Washington, DC -- Conservation groups are taking action to make it harder for mining and other polluting industries to skip out on costly cleanups by declaring bankruptcy.

The public interest law firm Earthjustice announced today it is representing community groups in Illinois, New Mexico, Nevada, and Idaho in a lawsuit to prevent future problems in areas riddled with toxic mine sites."
Lisa Gollin Evans
Marblehead, MA 01945

Sierra Club
San Francisco, California 941 05
Contact: Ed Hopkins, Director of the Environmental Quality Program,

Ainigos Bravos
Taos, NM 87571
Contact: Brian Shields, Executive Director

Great Basin Mine Watch
Reno, NV 89503
Contact: Dan Randolph, Executive Director

Idaho Conservation League
Boise, Idaho 83701
Contact: John Robison, Public Lands Director

Monday, November 5, 2007

El Paso County Commissioners decide not to weigh in on Asarco debate

"El Paso Times - El Paso,TX,USA
By Erica Molina Johnson / El Paso Times County Commissioners decided not to weigh in as a body today on the Asarco debate. ..."
County opts to stay out of Asarco debate

GAO Report has not been finished or officially released

...where did this "GAO" report come from when other sources tell us that it isn't finished or released yet?  And why only talk about Rocky Mt. Arsenal (RMA) material?  Why not Tooele UT material?  Why not NASA or the Army Depot waste that came to El Paso's Asarco smelter? ...  Is it a coincidence that Asarco's response to the NYTimes Oct. '06 story a year ago (the secret DOJ document) was to immediately post previously unrevealed/unseen RMA chemical weapon quench water contracts on its official website? 

"Feds find Asarco clean on hazmat charges By Mike Mrkvicka
The U.S. Government Accountability Office has thrown cold water on the claim by Asarco opponents that tons of hazardous waste were burned illegally at the El Paso smelter.

In a 42-page report obtained by El Paso Inc., the Congressional investigative agency discounts much of the anti-Asarco speculation surrounding a “secret” EPA memorandum uncovered last year by Heather McMurray, a local school teacher and Asarco opponent.

The hazardous material came to the El Paso smelter from 1993 to 1995 from the former Army chemical warfare depot at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal outside Denver....."

Judge lets Asarco sue Mexican owners

"By Les Blumenthal McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — A federal judge has refused to throw out a lawsuit filed by Asarco against its Mexican owners in a ruling that eventually could help the bankrupt U.S. mining and smelting company recover billions of dollars to help pay off environmental and asbestos-related claims, including hundreds of millions in claims from Washington state.

The lawsuit alleges Americas Mining, a subsidiary of Grupo Mexico, S.A. de C.V., "fraudulently" stripped Asarco LLC of its lucrative holding in two Peruvian copper mines just as Asarco was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen in Brownsville, Texas, clears the way for a trial next spring. In preparing for the trial, Asarco lawyers say they will question members of one of Mexico's wealthiest families, brothers German Larrea Mota-Velasco and Genaro Larrea Mota-Velasco, as part of the case.

The Larrea family controls Grupo Mexico, the largest Mexican mining company and the third-largest producer of copper in the world. The Larrea brothers have been executives of Grupo Mexico, Americas Mining and Asarco. The family is considered one of the 100 or so richest in Mexico, dubbed the "fantasticos" because of their economic, political and social clout.".....

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The ASARCO Press onslaught begins....

The New Plant Manager, Bob Litle writes an opinion piece in the Sunday paper (El Paso Times) and coincidently the EP Inc. (Nov.4-11)  releases the first news about the GAO investigative report, which says that nothing wrong ever happened -- it was all a paperwork error.  Amazing that the Federal Dept. of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency and also ASARCO felt it necessary to keep this "paperwork error" secret from the Paso del Norte community and the world for eight years!

No one has explained why we have never gotten a copy of the chemical-analysis of the Encycle material(s) or the old ASARCO lake's "new" water, or the pond mud that got railed/trucked clear-back to Corpus Christi's TX US Ecology dump.  No one explains the 20010628 meeting-memo that lets us know the EPA and TCEQ are hiding something from us, likely a metal.

Bob Litle writes, "The opposition to Asarco is not about the environment, it is about the land."  And all he will talk about is lead (Pb) in the dirt - not any other metals. None at all.

I don't know about anyone else but I know that my opposition is not about land.  It is about the WATER, and about getting an honest answer to the question "what is it?".  What is poisoning us from the almost-decade of burning untracked/unmanifested toxic wastes in the ConTop furnaces?  Why did the consent decree tell Asarco to pave streets for six years, not five or ten years?  Why did the consent decree require that all materials going out of Encycle have spectrometer analysis after that?  Why, when the ConTop was designed to burn sludge (dirt) has no one talked about NORM waste?  WHAT ARE THEY CONTINUING TO HIDE?

Mr. Litle writes "Wouldn't it be great to have an additional $2.2 million in tax revenue every year to curtail the raising of taxes and help our schools?"

In reply, I can't help but think, "wouldn't it be nice to have 24 million dollars from Asarco to clean up the huge Arsenic plume beneath our drinking water (the old american canal) so that the 70+ year old canal might be replaced?"  Wouldn't it be nice if the El Paso City schools got the money from Asarco to clean up Asarco's waste in the old schools?

If years of toxic waste burning was a "paperwork error" then how can we trust the paperwork figures from Asarco telling us how much poison is in our Paso del Norte environment from their illegal waste disposal?  When Asarco removes 2 inches of dirt from Anapra yards and says that they are cleaned up, and in Maryland a smelter removes two feet of dirt before deciding that they cleaned-up enough -- what are we to believe?  What are we to believe when the Fox tells us that the chickens are safe?

In my opinion the simultaneous release of these El Paso Times and EP Inc. pro-Asarco articles is suspicious, and leave a lot out --- when we get to see the full analysis of the ENCYCLE dirt that caused the EPA and the DOJ to slap a five-state multi-million dollar settlement on Asarco, then we might be getting closer to the truth.

(click on image to see full-page)
From "Rails of the Pass of the North" by TX Western Press, El Paso

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Latino Policy Forum and others report on those at risk from industrial air pollution...

" The 2007 report found that of the more than 9 million people estimated to live within 1.8 miles of the nation's 413 commercial waste facilities, more than 5.1 million are people of colour.

Other research has confirmed similar disparities. A 2000 study by the Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas-Dallas found that almost half of the nearly 2 million federally-subsidized apartments for low-income people were within about a mile of factories releasing toxic emissions.

A 2001 report by the Latino Policy Forum determined that 68 percent of African Americans live within 30 miles of coal-fired power plants, compared to 56 percent of whites. And a 2005 Associated Press investigation found that blacks are 79 percent more likely than whites to live in areas most at health risk from industrial air pollution."
from: "
ENVIRONMENT-US: Toxins Threaten to Uproot Entire Town"
By Mark Weisenmiller

Saturday, October 27, 2007


"Test wells drilled into the intermediate aquifer underneath the [E. Helena MT] Asarco smelting property in 2001 revealed arsenic present at 31 to 34 parts per million (i.e. 34 ppm in the water) — more than 3,000 times the federal standards for drinking water."
Asarco to present public updates (article from E. Helena MT Asarco plant)

Arsenic in Canal-water above the El Paso Water Utilities' (EPWU) Canal-street treatment plant near Asarco El Paso was 37 ppm, according to TCEQ (TNRCC) samples from '95. (DAMAGE CASES AND ENVIRONMENTAL RELEASES FROM MINES AND MINERAL PROCESSING SITES 1997 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, page 215)

EPA in 1997 reports on TCEQ 1995 EL PASO ASARCO WATER CONTAMINATION: arsenic concentrations in ground water seeping into the canal,from ASARCO property were 37 mg/l

"The American Canal, which originates near the facility, also is nearby. The canal distributes water
diverted from the river to downstream users, including El Paso Water Utilities, via a system of canals and
ditches. For approximately 1,100 feet, the canal is adjacent to ASARCO's main plant. Downstream from the
ASARCO plant the canal is referred to as the Franklin Canal. El Paso's public drinking water is withdrawn from
the Franklin Canal for treatment prior to distribution
. The withdrawal point from the canal is approximately two
miles from the dam on the river that diverts water into the canal. On December 4, 1995, the Texas Natural
Resources Conservation Commission (TNRCC) conducted a case development inspection of the American
Canal in the immediate vicinity of ASARCO's El Paso Plant. TNRCC collected ground water and sediment
samples from three points in the canal, in which arsenic concentrations in ground water seeping into the canal
from ASARCO property were 37 mg/l [i.e. 37 ppm],
which is above drinking water standards - sediment in the canal had
arsenic concentrations of 13 parts per million (ppm).

Type of Impact/Media Affected: TNRCC personnel have concluded that the American Canal was affected
by arsenic contamination from ground water seeping into the canal."
“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” - Orwell

El Paso Texas showed one of the highest Beta Radiation levels in the nation winter of 1998

"...during particular months El Paso sometimes had the highest reading or one of the highest readings of Beta-particle radiation for the field analysis performed approximately five hours after sample collection.  The data generated after those same samples are taken back to the laboratory for analysis generally show El Paso with average Beta readings, or somewhat above national average..."

- George Brozowski EPA Region 6 Radiation Health Physicist/EPA Region 6
technical contact for RadNet

"... The system is not designed to perform source apportionment nor to do detailed studies in each location"

(click on text to read full-size-text)

Asarco page for Environmental Mgt. Practices for the closed sites (i.e. El Paso)

2005 old Newspapertree links to Asarco Filings and info.

Newspaper Tree presents a look back at filings in the case:

1. Original Petition, filed by Plaintiff (ASARCO INCORPORATED)

2. Original Answer of Defendant (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, or "TCEQ")

3. Plaintiff's Initial Brief (Part one)

4. Plaintiff's Initial Brief (Part two)

5. Plaintiff's Initial Brief (Part three)

6. Brief of the City of El Paso, Intervenor (filed January 10, 2005)

7. Amicus Curiae Brief of the Latina/o Law Students Association, at the University of Wisconsin Law School

8. TCEQ Brief (Part One)

9. TCEQ Brief (Part Two)

10. The City of El Paso's Intervenor Brief

11. ASARCO Reply Brief (Part One)

12. ASARCO Reply Brief (Part Two)

13. ASARCO's Amended Original Petition

14. ASARCO's Motion to Strike the Amicus Curiae of the Latina/o Law Students Association

15. The Latina/o Law Students Association's Response to [ASARCO's] Motion to Strike Amicus Curiae Brief

16. The Court's Order of March 9, 2005

* * *

Previous ASARCO-related articles from NPT:

1. City Contract with Baron & Budd, P.C. (June 27, 2005)

2. Getting to the Bottom of the Superfund (June 13, 2005)

3. Two-fifths of a Paving Contract (May 28, 2005)

4. Sunset Heights ASARCO Controversy (May 12, 2005)

5. Demystifying the Open Records Process (April 27, 2005)

6. City Seeks to Enforce 1999 Asarco Penalty (March 30, 2005)

7. ASARCO Incorporated (ASARCO) v. Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) (March 15, 2005)

8. Briefs on ASARCO Case (February 14, 2005)

9. Background on ASARCO Case (February 1, 2005)

10. Notes on SOAH Preliminary Hearing (January 27, 2005)

11. Birch & Becker, LLP (January 17, 2005)

12. Clean up or Cover up? (Reprinted from the Texas Observer) (November 1, 2004)

* * *

Industry/Government/Community Links:

1. ASARCO, Inc. (El Paso)

2. EPA in El Paso

3. Texas Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program

4. Get the Lead Out Coalition

5. El Paso Acorn

6. Sierra Club (El Paso Regional Group)

Health/Studies Links:

1. ATSDR study showing MS/lead risk for EP

2. SCERP Study

3. Encuentros Binational Community Lead Project

* * *
from July 11, 2005 newspapertree article

Updated federal report finds greater hazard in arsenic

"Sat 27 Oct 2007 The Baltimore Sun
Closer look for cancer near park: Updated federal report finds greater hazard in arsenic from closed plant
By Tom Pelton
Oct. 27--Baltimore's health commissioner plans to study cancer deaths in the neighborhood around South Baltimore's Swann Park in light of a new federal finding that arsenic in the soil poses a greater health risk than previously reported.

The U.S. Department of Health said in June that there was "no public health hazard" to children who have played in Swann Park, unless they ate a tablespoon or more of dirt. But the federal agency revised that assessment yesterday, saying that "recent and historic exposure to Swann Park soil is considered a public health hazard."

"This means that there is a low but potentially real increase in cancer risk for people who have a significant exposure over years to the park," said the city's health commissioner, Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein. "It justifies why we closed the park and why we need to clean it up."

The city closed the park in April after tests showed that its soil has high levels of arsenic, a known cancer-causing agent, from dust that blew from an adjacent Allied Chemical Co. pesticide factory that closed in 1976.

An EPA-funded study done in the 1970s by a Johns Hopkins scientist found lung cancer deaths more than three times the normal rate in the neighborhood around Swann Park.
The deaths were linked to arsenic dust from the factory next to the park and from train cars carrying the carcinogen.

But until yesterday, city and federal health officials said there was almost no risk to the public from arsenic left in the soil after the factory shut down in 1976.

Now, federal officials are saying that children, coaches and grounds workers who used the park at least 182 days a year might have an increased cancer risk from inhaling dirt particles and touching their mouths after getting their hands grubby.


On Oct. 6, the city and Honeywell submitted a plan to the Maryland Department of the Environment to remove 3,200 cubic yards of contaminated dirt at the park, then cover the site with two feet of clean soil. Under the plan, the park would reopen in 2008......,0,2067591.story"

from arsenic newsletter...

Friday, October 26, 2007

EMERGENCY NOTICE OF ASARCO BANKRUPTCY FRAUD sent by SPGEG to the US Trustee on October 16, 2007 (part 2)

EMERGENCY NOTICE OF ASARCO BANKRUPTCY FRAUD sent by SPGEG to the US Trustee on October 16, 2007 (part 1)

(click on image to read full-page)

Poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox 1915


To sit in silence when we should protest
Makes cowards out of men. The human race
Has climbed on protest. Had no voice been raised
Against injustice, ignorance and lust
The Inquisition yet would serve the law
And guillotines decide our least disputes.
The few who dare must speak and speak again
To right the wrongs of many. Speech, thank God,
No vested power in this great day and land
Can gag or throttle; Press and voice may cry
Loud disapproval of existing ills,
May criticise oppression and condemn
The lawlessness of wealth-protecting laws
That let the children and child-bearers toil
To purchase ease for idle millionaires,
Therefore do I protest against the boast
Of independence in this mighty land.
Call no chain strong which holds one rusted link,
Call no land free that holds one fettered slave
Until the manacled, slim wrists of babes
Are loosed to toss in childish sport and glee,
Until the Mother bears no burden save
The precious one beneath her heart; until
God's soil is rescued from the clutch of greed
And given back to labour, let no man
Call this the Land of Freedom."

Monday, October 22, 2007

The New Mexico State University College of Engineering received a gift of $1.5 million to establish the Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Water Quality Laboratory. The gift was made by the Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Foundation.

Can anyone say, "Conflict ... of... Interest"?  [see Biological Sciences for Sophomores Dragonfly Book, the opening chapters for a good explanation of how to look for conflict of interest in scientific research ...]

"NMSU receives $1.5M for water quality lab
By New Mexico State University
Las Cruces Sun-News
Article Launched:10/22/2007 12:00:00 AM MDT

The New Mexico State University College of Engineering received a gift of $1.5 million to establish the Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Water Quality Laboratory. The gift was made by the Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Foundation.[Freeport-McMorRan is the company that purchased Phelps-Dodge, which ran smelters in and near El Paso during the years that Asarco was found to be illegally burning toxic waste.  Information released by FOIA inquiry states that Asarco contaminated the river and aquifer, i.e. the water.  Asking the industry to set up a water quality lab might be like asking a fox to guard a henhouse; or (in the words of a friend), "handing a burglar the keys to your home". ]

"We are very pleased to be a partner with NMSU to ensure that the academic and research needs of the state and region are met in an effective manner," said John Galassini, senior vice president, Freeport-McMoRan Americas. "The establishment of this new water quality lab represents new, cutting-edge research capability that does not currently exist within the state or the region. The lab will also be an important addition to the campuswide natural resources research cluster initiative, which supports the development and implementation of strategies that build sustainable water, energy and land resources." "

[??seems like the industry will run out of excuses for not telling us what Asarco toxic-waste-handling/burning released into our water??]

Bankruptcy court approves raise for Asarco CEO

"Bloomberg News Tucson, Arizona | Published: 10.22.2007 A judge ruled that Tucson-based copper producer Asarco LLC can raise the salary of CEO Joseph Lapinsky from $425,000 to $500,000, pay him an $85,000 bonus, and make him eligible for another performance bonus for as much as 75 percent of his salary payable at the discretion of the board, Bloomberg News reported...."

Friday, October 19, 2007

The people paying the cost - are the elderly, the ill, the children and the unborn of this region...

"...Teresa Montoya [Asarco Media Firm] is about the only money I can say EPISD is spending correctly [Montoya now also gets paid by EPISD for media]. There's clearly no conflict, but working for ASARCO or supporting ASARCO could end up being a punishable offense in this town soon! -- David K [El Paso radio host]"   [EPISD has a one million dollar contaminated schools cleanup legal claim against ASARCO (anon)]

City Refuses Asarco Demand to Take Down Video
Asarco should never ever be allowed to re-open in MY city. I have been here since 1978 and know the entire history, their bankruptcy to get out of paying for a clean-up, and their continued distortion of what exactly will be leaking into our skies, and our soils.

What I want to know is who is paying for the slick [Asarco] propaganda brochures which have been mailed to my address 3 times now, and their TV ads????
Whose paying for all that?
-- Miki Cutler

[The people paying for all of that are the elderly, the ill, the children and the unborn of this region]