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?