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

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Last year: Filing for party status for everyone drinking the water (Ore Handling permit #4151)

20060305 (a year ago)

TCEQ Office of the Chief Clerk [MC-105]                                                                 
P.O. Box 13087
Austin, TX 78711-3087                                        

 
BY:  Fax (512) 239-3311 and FEDEX

RE:  CONTESTED HEARING FOR ASARCO, LLC AIR QUALITY PERMIT NO. 4151 AUTHORIZING CONTINUED OPERATION OF THE ORE HANDLING AND STORAGE FACILITY LOCATED AT 2301 W. PAISANO DR., EL PASO TX

Dear Sirs:

I request a Contested Case Hearing be held in El Paso for the renewal of Asarco’s Air Quality Permit - # 4151.

I file for Affected Party status for all people in this region who drink water originating from the old open-conduit American-canal. From mid-March through mid-October every year El Paso uses the water passing through the old-American-canal next to Asarco for our El Paso City drinking water (and for agricultural irrigation).  Dry deposition of dusts into water supplies has long been known as a hydrological-pollutant-source.

Just a few hundred feet or less from this canal, the ore handling at Asarco emits ultra-fine particulates, PM 2.5’s, and coarse dusts next to our drinking supply.   The prevailing winds at Asarco travel that direction (toward the canal, American Dam, and the Rio Grande) the greatest percentage of time.  Up until 1999, Asarco would bring illegal hazardous wastes from Asarco-ENCYCLE to the El Paso facility, unload these and process these along with the ores, near this canal.

IBWC has thoroughly documented many Asarco problems impinging upon the canal. It is not possible for our City’s water system to test and remove many of these contaminants presently (i.e. arsenic).   Potentially, these contaminants can disproportionately affect the young, the ill, the elderly, and the unborn.   IBWC told TCEQ that the remediation of the Asarco-contaminants already beneath our leaking-canal will cost over 24 Million dollars.  The renewal of this Asarco permit #4151 will worsen the problem by enabling dry deposition of dusts from ore handling, when we already face an expensive toxic burden.

Besides being among the City water users relying upon water originating from the old American canal, I live three miles from the Asarco smelter.   When my swamp cooler runs, it can bring those same PM 2.5 particulates (which remain suspended for weeks/travel far) into my home, equalizing the dust-levels inside and out.  Not even HEPA filters will remove PM 2.5’s (HEPA-filter have a 3 micron limit).   I do not have the luxury of closing my windows to keep out this toxic material --- my evaporative swamp coolers are in essence open windows.   And most folks in this arid region use this cooling method.  All chemical exposure models which make the assumption that being indoors limits your exposure become invalid when homes use evaporative air cooling.  

The renewal of Permit 4151 will violate the Treaty of La Paz.

Residents in this region have been (and continue to be) denied due process of law guaranteed them by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution because individuals who participated in the decision-making process with respect to this permit application have potential conflicts of interest.   Attached hereto and incorporated herein by reference is a copy of an internal EPA memorandum dated June 28, 2001, which contains the following handwritten sentence:  “The TNRCC is concerned that the El Paso sampling plan doesn’t undermine the ASARCO Corpus sampling delima (sic).”  An inescapable inference from this sentence is the fact that ASARCO has compromised employees of both the EPA and TCEQ.   Both ASARCO and the regulators are concealing certain ASARCO contaminants from the residents of Corpus Christi and the Paso del Norte Region.  Every individual who either knows, or should know that ASARCO’s contamination is being concealed is exposed to both criminal and civil liability. 

ASARCO is not in compliance with federal, state and local environmental laws but no legitimate enforcement actions have been taken against the company because ASARCO has compromised employees of both the EPA and the TCEQ.   We are therefore unable to comply with the requirement that we provide ASARCO’s compliance history.

NOTICE: THIS WILL DIRECT YOUR ATTENTION TO UNITED STATES V. PANARELLA, 277 F.3RD 678 AND UNITED STATES V. GRAY, NO. 95-50533, SEPTEMBER 18, 1996.  IT IS REQUESTED THAT NO PERSON WHO EITHER KNOWS, OR SHOULD KNOW, THAT ANY ASARCO CONTAMINATION OF CORPUS CHRISTI OR PASO DEL NORTE REGION IS BEING CONCEALED PARTICIPATE IN ANY FURTHER ACTION IN THIS MATTER.  THIS REQUEST INCLUDES, BUT IS NOT LIMITED TO THE ATTORNEYS AND OTHER REPRESENTATIVES OF ASARCO.

Sincerely,
Heather McMurray
M.S. Biological Sciences 

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