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Saturday, November 10, 2007

[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.

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