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

Monday, June 25, 2007

Letter to the Editor, El Paso Inc. sent 2/12/07 to Editor and EPWU Attorney Andron

Thank you for the article and photo about the repair of the old upper American canal's broken panel, showing the Jobe Concrete truck pouring cement for the new panel, near the American Dam (established by International Treaty for the delivery of waters to Mexico and the USA). http://www.elpasoinc.com/showArticle.asp?articleId=971

We know from the IBWC's reports that 24 million dollars worth of hazardous waste is in the soil beneath those panels right there. Some of it is odorless and tasteless. We know from the EPWU's water reports above and below that buckled-panel that it is leaking into that water still flowing past the feet of those men, who are now exposed to it. Those men are not wearing masks, most are not wearing gloves -- no one is wearing white environmental suits. Some of those men will wash their clothes at home or in commercial laundromats, and family members (maybe pregnant wives or growing kids) will handle the contaminated clothing.
We know that between mid-March and mid-October that El Paso will get its drinking water from this canal; and, that contamination still leaks
through the old-joints and the weep-holes into the canal where ground-water touches the liner. The contamination will pass along over 70 miles of agricultural irrigation canal. The farmland below Asarco has been called an "arsenic time-bomb" in at least one research paper.

Our community knows that Asarco burned illegal hazardous waste for nearly a decade just a stone's throw away from this liner. Smeltertown, in the background of this photo on the EP Inc., had 18 inches of soil removed nearly 40 years ago, for just the Pb (lead) content alone.

The panels in that old canal were made over 70 years ago of 3 inches of concrete laid over re-bar, just like in that photo - and layered in two directions. They should be made of 4 inches of reinforced concrete. This is a patch-job it appears, and the rest of the 3 miles and 400 or so panels are still in danger of failing. The panels' failure was predicted years ago.

The State Department in spring of '05 reviewed the various IBWC sites and said that the employees at American Dam next to old-smeltertown were sick, and that they were not getting independent medical review from this region.
How long will our regulatory agencies responsible for our well-being continue to conceal its conflicts of interests from this community and pass along the responsibilities to the next generation--- "pass-the-buck", in cancers, lead exposure, arsenic trioxides and actinide exposures?

Heather McMurray
El Paso, TX

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