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Saturday, June 9, 2007

Multimedia Consent decree stated that all operations at the Facility would have materials tracked and a x-ray fluorescence spectrometer used

After twelve months of efforts to get a copy of a full chemical analysis of the material dredged from the bottom of the Asarco El Paso 100 year old pond, after it was dredged in July of 2006, the TCEQ Regional Director begs the question by stating that the TCEQ under law does not require that TX US Ecology release (or collect) such data.

However, the multimedia consent decree stated that [it] :

Encycle shall manage waste
at the Facility in accordance with this Waste Analysis Plan, which
shall supersede the WAP referenced in the Permit. Immediately upon
entry of this Decree, Settlors shall apply the WAP attached to
this Decree to all operations at the Facility. Settlors shall use
their best efforts to install and operate as soon as possible an
x-ray fluorescence spectrometer for use in analyzing metal content
in Solid Feedstock for compliance with Feedstock acceptance
criteria. Between entry of this Consent Decree and the date on
which the x-ray fluorescence spectrometer is operational, which
shall be no later than June 1, 1999, except for CC-5112,
preshipment samples of bulk Solid Feedstocks shall be taken to
confirm compliance with all applicable acceptance criteria,
including those contained in Paragraph 28 herein. During this
period, confirmation samples shall be analyzed on receipt of each
shipment. If the preshipment sample demonstrates compliance with
the acceptance criteria but the confirmation sample does not
confirm such compliance then future shipments of such material
shall not be unloaded prior to receipt of analysis results
confirming that the materials meet acceptance criteria.

Notice that this paragraph says "ALL OPERATIONS AT THE FACILITY". Even dredging and taking that stuff away to TX US Ecology?

Since TCEQ deny ever requiring a spectrometer to analyze the waste coming from El Paso to the
dump site then they should explain why they failed to do this when the US DOJ / EPA consent decree required
this be done to "weed out" improper feedstock/materials even after Asarco-el paso closed.
TX US Ecology cannot accept all waste - in order to determine the proper disposal method, a spectrometer or
equivalent sensitive analysis needed to be done because that pond-dirt contains all the stuff that was "missed"
when Encycle had failed to run these tests from 1992 through 1999.

Again, back in December 2006: "We do not usually do not release this client information to anyone other than a regulatory agency without the clients c

Here, the TX US Ecology General Manager explained that the Regulatory Agency (TCEQ) is allowed to have a copy of the identifying analysis. Fast forward to now, June 9, 2007 and we see that the TCEQ Regional Director says that TCEQ is not required under law to ask for it (even when a State Senator asks TCEQ to request it). Instead of the Regional Director or the Austin TCEQ offices asking TX US Robstown to turn over any spectrometer or equivalent analyses (raw data, even lab books), the TCEQ begs the question.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: RE: FW: [Fwd: PIR#]
Date: Tue, 12 Dec 2006 06:06:52 -0700
From: Ken Knibbs <kknibbs[at]>
To: <heamc[at]

We do not usually do not release this client information to anyone other than a regulatory agency without the clients consent. I would be happy to forward this request to our client.

-----Original Message-----
From: heamc[at] [mailto:heamc[at]]
Sent: Monday, December 11, 2006 8:13 PM
To: Ken Knibbs
Subject: Re: FW: [Fwd: PIR#]
Hi, Ken,
Is there a problem with this request?

Ken Knibbs wrote:
Please contact me regarding this request.

Thank you,
Ken Knibbs
General Manager
361-387-3518 ext. 267

-----Original Message-----
From: Beth Payne [mailto:bpayne[at]]
Sent: Monday, December 11, 2006 11:01 AM
To: Ken Knibbs
Subject: FW: [Fwd: PIR#]


-----Original Message-----
From: Jill Albert [mailto:jalbert[at]]
Sent: Monday, December 11, 2006 6:33 AM
To: 'Beth Payne'
Subject: FW: [Fwd: PIR#]

Beth not for sure about this
Jill Albert
Customer Service Manager
US Ecology Texas
361-387-3518 Ext. 255

-----Original Message-----
From: heamc[at] [mailto:heamc[at]]
Sent: Saturday, December 09, 2006 2:27 AM
To: jalbert[at]
Subject: [Fwd: PIR#]

Dear Ms. Albert (U.S. Ecology Customer Service Manager),
The TX TCEQ referred me to your company for a copy of the following information, under my Public Information Act Request, PIR .
Asarco El Paso recently dredged materials from its central pond, dried it in its bedding building and then shipped it to US Ecology in Robstown.

They would have been required to fill out a "Waste Product Questionnaire (WPQ)" and they may also have provided an identifying analysis and an applicable Material Safety Data Sheet(s) (MSDS).

Would you email me a copy?

thank you

Back to December 2006 - TX US Ecology Attorney specifies that TCEQ must place a written demand for such information (under law they are allowed to request a copy)

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [Fwd: Re: FW: [Fwd: PIR#]]
Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2006 08:30:36 -0700
From: Wayne Ipsen <WIPSEN[at]>
To: <heamc[at]>
CC: Ken Knibbs <kknibbs[at]>
Re: [Fwd: Re: FW: [Fwd: PIR#]]

Ms. McMurray:

There is not a specific person/office from which the request must come, however, our ability to provide confidential customer information to the TCEQ  (stemming from a third party request) will depend on the TCEQ's written demand for such information.


Wayne Ipsen

Sent with ChatterEmail+ (EX)
Direct Exchange Email for the Treo Smartphone

-----Original Message-----
From: "heamc[at]" <heamc[at]>
Date: Monday, Dec 18, 2006 7:42 pm
Subject: Re: [Fwd: Re: FW: [Fwd: PIR#]]

       Thank you, Mr. Ipsen.  Who in the TCEQ must write you that letter? What office/administrator?

Correspondence from 1-14-07 through 2-16-07 trying to get release of Robstown US Ecology Asarco manifests, waste profiles and chemical analyses from Stephanie Bergeron, TCEQ Austin

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [Fwd: American Canal cont., and request for letter to US Ecology from TCEQ]
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2007 08:53:33 -0600
From: Stephanie Bergeron <>
To: <heamc[at]>, "Javier Martinez" <Javier.Martinez[at]>, <thornton.wood[at]>, "Andrea Casey" <ACasey[at]>, "Celeste Baker" <CBAKER[at]>, "Charles Stokes" <CSTOKES[at]>, "Jim Hay" <JHAY[at]>, "John Davis" <JODAVIS[at]>, "WWW - WWW - WWW - OPA" <OPA[at]>, "Rosalinda Escalon" <RESCALON[at]>, "Ronnie Morgan" <RMORGAN[at]>, "Sharmein White" <SHWHITE[at]>, "Vickie Stone" <VStone[at]>

Late yesterday I attempted to email documents described below but again I received an error message (attached) that delivery was unsuccessful.  Accordingly, we will mail a copy (and waive costs) of documents to you.
Thank you - Stephanie
As mentioned, attached please find waste profiles and manifests for shipments made from ASARCO El Paso to US Ecology in Robstown in 2006.
Thanks - Stephanie
Hi Heather,
You have requested information relating to "material dredged from the ponds this summer (2006)/dried in the bedding building/and then sent for disposal to US Ecology near Corpus Christi, to you at TCEQ." You also stated the requested information is "not the stormwater containment pond(s)." Rather, "it is the 100+ year old pond in the center of the complex."  
To address your concern that the agency has not responded to your request, we contacted US Ecology and requested all manifests and profiles for waste received by US Ecology from ASARCO/El Paso in 2006. 
US Ecology has copied the documents and will be providing them to the Corpus regional office.  We will notify you when we have received documents to address how to make them available for your review.
Thank you - Stephanie

Message status - undeliverable
Thu, 15 Feb 2007 16:50:22 -0600

The attached file had the following undeliverable recipient(s): 	heamc[at]  Transcript of session follows: 	  Command:  MAIL FROM:<SBERGERO[at]> 	  Response: 552 Message size 20975471 exceeds limits 14680064 	
Received: from GATEDOM-MTA by with Novell_GroupWise; Thu, 15 Feb 2007 16:50:19 -0600 Message-Id: <s5d48f4b.045[at]> X-Mailer: Novell GroupWise Internet Agent 6.5.6 Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2007 16:49:47 -0600 From: "Stephanie Bergeron" <SBERGERO[at]> To: <heamc[at]>, "Javier Martinez" <Javier.Martinez[at]>, <thornton.wood[at]>, "Andrea Casey" <ACasey[at]>, "Celeste Baker" <CBAKER[at]>, "Charles Stokes" <CSTOKES[at]>, "Jim Hay" <JHAY[at]>, "John Davis" <JODAVIS[at]>, "WWW - WWW - WWW - OPA" <OPA[at]>, "Rosalinda Escalon" <RESCALON[at]>, "Ronnie Morgan" <RMORGAN[at]>, "Sharmein White" <SHWHITE[at]>, "Vickie Stone" <VStone[at]> Subject: Re: [Fwd: American Canal cont., and request for letter to US Ecology from TCEQ] Heather, As mentioned, attached please find waste profiles and manifests for shipments made from ASARCO El Paso to US Ecology in Robstown in 2006. Thanks - Stephanie ***************************************************************** Hi Heather, You have requested information relating to "material dredged from the ponds this summer (2006)/dried in the bedding building/and then sent for disposal to US Ecology near Corpus Christi, to you at TCEQ." You also stated the requested information is "not the stormwater containment pond(s)." Rather, "it is the 100+ year old pond in the center of the complex." To address your concern that the agency has not responded to your request, we contacted US Ecology and requested all manifests and profiles for waste received by US Ecology from ASARCO/El Paso in 2006.

>>> <heamc[at]> 2/5/2007 12:53 PM >>>
Hi, Stephanie,

Please write the letter to Mr. Ipsen and quit dodging.

Regional Office follow up is not what I asked for and will not get the job done.  The report should have been on file with my state regulatory agency already and it is not - that is the responsibility of TCEQ Austin, who fined US Ecology in Robstown just last summer.   The lack of information on file with TCEQ is keeping me from accessing this data under open records and I don't appreciate this continued run-around.

I have gotten a public commitment from my State Senator about this request.  I want a letter from TCEQ Austin asking for that report,  and I want access to it under open records, as a citizen living 3 miles from that dredged site.

Please write this letter to Mr. Wayne R. Ipsen, Corporate Counsel at the American Ecology Corporation Fax 208.331.7900 in Corpus Christi (Robstown, TX) and formally ask him to release the Waste Product Questionnaire, identifying analysis, and any applicable Material safety data sheets from the material dredged from the ponds this summer (2006)/dried in the bedding building/and then sent for disposal to US Ecology near Corpus Christi, to you at TCEQ.

I do not want to release the name or date of letter to you without written-assurances that the author at TCEQ will not have any retaliatory action taken against them at the agency for releasing honest information to me.

I am bc'ing this email to interested parties, including press contacts.  I want to know what is in the material dredged from that central 100 year old pond, 3 miles from my house and above my drinking-water-supply (the old upper american canal).  And I don't appreciate the hedging or stalling from TCEQ legal.  If you won't write the letter then someone else on this distribution list should be writing it - Mr. McCalla, Mr. Stokes, Mr. Harrison, Ms. Baker.  To pass it along to Regional (Mr. Clouse) is unacceptable when the Asarco illegal hazardous waste burning and cover-up was done at the highest levels of TCEQ and EPA; and, this chemical analysis will show what the TCEQ and EPA are hiding.

We are tired of the cover-up, we are tired of not being told what was burned, and what metal(s) are being hidden.  We are tired of seeing inept data reports, like recent ones showing extremely high strontium levels released from storm ponds at Asarco, but no follow-up by TCEQ to ask which isotopes of strontium.   If anyone on the distribution list is not helping us uncover what it is, then you are part of the cover-up in my opinion; and, liable for those actions. 

Heather McMurray

Stephanie Bergeron wrote:
I will have our regional office follow up again with US Ecology.  Do you have a date for the TCEQ document/communication in your possession?
Thank you - Stephanie
** Attorney Client Communication **

>>> <heamc[at]> 2/5/2007 11:39 AM >>>
Dear Ms. Bergeron,
I have a TCEQ communication in my possession stating that dredged material was shipped to American Ecology in Robstown TX (US Ecology). I have communicated with that company, and they will not release the manifest and chemical analysis.

Now you want me to believe that the shipment never was made?  This was *NOT* the stormwater containment pond(s).  This was the 100+ year old pond in the center of the complex.  The material was removed long ago, and dried in the bedding building before it was shipped out.  I have been trying to get a copy of the analysis since last summer -- almost six months, now.  That is unacceptable and the hedging and problems-emailing are transparent.

All you have to do is write a letter to American Ecology (US Ecology) in Robstown (the same site you fined last year) and request a copy of the information that TCEQ is allowed to legally acquire, being our State regulatory body.   The company DOES have that information and I want a copy of it through TCEQ under open records law.

It was shipped to Robstown, I want a copy of the chemical analysis, and I want honest services.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: American Canal cont., and request for letter to US Ecology from TCEQ
Date: Mon, 05 Feb 2007 10:20:49 -0600
From: Stephanie Bergeron <SBERGERO[at]>
To: <heamc[at]>
CC: Javier Martinez <Javier.Martinez[at]>, <thornton.wood[at]>, WWW - WWW - OPA <OPA[at]>

I have just been advised by our IR staff, that the PDF documents that I was trying to send are apparently what is resulting in undeliverable error message.  We will mail these to you.
Thank you - Stephanie
Due to error messages indicating that the email exceeds text limits, I am re-sending emails that are limited only to the most recent inquiry and our response. 
Thank you - Stephanie
Hi Heather,
As noted in my 1/19/07 email, I stated I would follow up concerning your request for information regarding dredged material from the ASARCO ponds. 


After we received your email, we ran a report of our database regarding waste sent from ASARCO to US Ecology.  Based upon our review, we did not locate shipments of dredged material from ASARCO to US Ecology.  We also contacted US Ecology in Corpus and verified that they have not yet received stormwater pond dredged material.   Attached for your review is ASARCO’s Notice of Registration (NOR) and US Ecology’s List of Shipments received from ASARCO.  Let me know if you would like to have an agency employee go through these documents with you.


The dredged material from the stormwater ponds remains on-site and has not yet been sent to US Ecology for disposal.  Dredging activity was not completed until late November due to the stormwater events in August and September; the water in the ponds had to evaporate before dredging could continue.  Appropriate waste characterization must be conducted on generated wastes and waste must be shipped under hazardous waste manifest.  These documents are available for agency review when we conduct on-site investigations at generating facilities. 


Thank you,



Hi Heather,
In response to your first concern, I believe you may be to referring to water quality data which was provided to you in response to your request for information on 12/16/05 regarding "all information concerning the EPA, TCEQ and 'other agencies' handling of the 4-Sept-06 spill of the stormwater containment pond."  We do not have information concerning the exposure of the water supply to ASARCO groundwater contamination by the collapse of the canal panels which is what I believe you originally requested.  If there was any misunderstanding of your original request on our part, I apologize for that.  We have endeavored to be responsive and acted in good faith to your requests for public information.
With regard to your request for information regarding dredged material from the ASARCO ponds sent to US Ecology for disposal, we will contact the facility.  I will follow up once I have further information.
Thank you,

>>> <heamc[at]> 1/14/2007 4:13 AM >>>
Dear Ms. Bergeron,
I have just received data from the TCEQ regarding the water quality data due to recent shifting of the slabs for the American canal.  The data specifies the same distance above and below the collapsed slabs and shows the increase in metals below that point.   This data was available since at least 9/4/06 but you said that the TCEQ did not have any data.

Please review the records again and send me any information regarding water quality in the old upper american canal as impacted by those collapsed panels, any leaking panels, and the recent '06 storm runoff.  I have the material sent from our regional office. I took photos of runoff from the Asarco property entering a public street and onto Paisano - which was later cleared by TXDOT vehicles.  Asarco's waste and storm-water permit does not allow the company to direct storm-water to a street, because the company never specified that this would happen. 

I am also concerned because I have been trying to get a copy of a chemical analysis that is available to the TCEQ but not available under open records (TCEQ says it doesn't have it) and the US Ecology company Counsel refuses to release it without a formal letter from the TCEQ.  The TCEQ is allowed to have a copy as the environmental regulatory body.

Would you write this letter to Mr. Wayne R. Ipsen, Corporate Counsel at the American Ecology Corporation Fax 208.331.7900 in Corpus Christi (Robstown, TX) and formally ask him to release the Waste Product Questionnaire, identifying analysis, and any applicable Material safety data sheets from the material dredged from the ponds this summer (2006)/dried in the bedding building/and then sent for disposal to US Ecology near Corpus Christi, to you at TCEQ so that you in turn could release a copy to me under the TX open records law?  I find it very distressing that it is so difficult for a citizen living only three miles from that dredged-pond to get a copy of the chemical analysis of the pond dredgings, that are supposed to be stored in the public view.

If you can't write the letter, please explain why. 

thank you,
Heather Mcmurray
El Paso, TX

December 2006 the TX US Ecology Attorney's response when I tried to get the chemical analysis of material sent to their facility from our Asarco El Paso 100 year old pond

Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2006 13:42:20 -0700
From: Wayne Ipsen <WIPSEN[at]>
CC: Ken Knibbs <kknibb[at]>

You have requested that our subsidiary US Ecology Texas, LP provide directly to you a specific Waste Product Questionnaire, identifying analysis and any applicable Material Safety Data Sheet(s) related to an ASARCO waste stream.  As Mr. Knibbs has state previously, in the interest of our customers, our general policy prohibits release of customer information to third parties absent the customer’s authorization. You have sought this information under a Public Information Act Request submitted to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).  Absent (i) a written request from the TCEQ for USET to provide this information to its office or (ii) a subpoena by the appropriate authority to release this information directly to you, we are prohibited from making this information available.   



Wayne R. Ipsen

Corporate Counsel

American Ecology Corporation

Phone 208.331.8400

Fax 208.331.7900



Sent: Sunday, December 17, 2006 4:07 PM
To: Ken Knibbs; bbrydson[at]; WWW - OPA; thornton.wood[at]; Martinez, Javier; David Edmonson; Loretta Akers; SIlo[at]; WWW - OPENRECS


Dear Mr. Knibbs,
I have not gotten a reply from you since 12-12-06 and wondered if there was a problem.  All this back and forth communication is a waste of time when TCEQ should have requested this information from you directly in the first place.   I consider this a bad faith action since my original request to TCEQ was on 19-Nov-06;  and, I would like the chemical analysis released asap.

This is the same chemical analysis that I approached my elected official(s) about, many months back.  Surely someone has access to this analysis/analyses under under public-information-law without "clearing it" with the "client". 

If your company wants to show that it operates legally/above-board, then release the analyses to my regulatory officials and elected officials asap (which you indicated did not require the permission of the "client") so that I may get a copy via open records law.

Thank you

Thank you for your public information act request dated May 7, 2007 for a copy of a "paper read out" of spectrometer analysis of material excavated fr

texas commission on environmental quality Protecting Texas by Reducing and Preventing Pollution RECEIVED May 22, 2007 Senator Eliot Shapleigh, District Off; Senator Eliot Shapleigh 800 Wyoming Ave. Suite A El Paso, TX 79902 Staff Assigned:.

Re: Public Information Request received May 8, 2007 Dear Senator Shapleigh: Thank you for your public information act request dated May 7, 2007 for a copy of a "paper read out" of spectrometer analysis of material excavated from ASARCO's "100 year-old pond". On behalf of Executive Director, Glenn Shankle, I am providing the following information: Spectrometer analysis (paper read-out) has not been located/identified in TCEQ records regarding waste analysis to determine an appropriate disposal method for excavated material that may have been shipped off-site. Furthermore the agency does not require the facility or the Company receiving the waste to submit that information to the agency. This is in compliance with 30 TAG 335 Subchapter R: Persons who generate industrial solid waste or municipal hazardous waste shall comply with the provisions of this subchapter....... Persons who generate wastes in Texas shall classify their own waste according to the standards set forth in this subchapter and may do so without any prior approval or communication with the agency other than notification of waste generation activities pursuant to §335.6 of this title (relating to Notification Requirements) and submittal of required documentation pursuant to §335.513 of this title (relating to Documentation Required). A reading of Section 335.313 includes cross references to Section 335.511. Section 335.511 requires a company to maintain a list of chemical constituents found in its waste but does not require specific documentation to support its results. Information regarding waste analysis of materials that have been deposited in approved on-site waste repositories as a result of on going on site remediation activities can be found in Phase I thru Phase IV of the "remedial investigation reports" previously provided to you. Sincerely, Archie Clouse, Regional Director TCEQ, El Paso Regional Office CC: OLS, ED/GS reply To: region 6 • 401 E. franklin ave., ste. 560 • el paso, texas 79901-1212 • 915-834-4949 • fax 915-834-4940

Friday, June 8, 2007

The next best thing to a press release....

Think about posting comments at the end of each Asarco newspaper article you read online, because anyone reading that article will likely read your comments. It is an opportunity to get the community's voice out into the media for free.

The easiest way to begin is to go to and sign up to get news on "Asarco". Google will post new stories to your email, and then you can to to those stories and see if it is possible for you to post a comment.

: )

June 9 (SAT) ASARCO Environmental manager to speak at the InForm EL Paso venue Ay Caramba! Restaurant on N. Mesa west of I10 10 AM

Hi! Everyone,

Date: Saturday, June 9, 2007
Time: 10:00 AM To Noon
Speaker: Mr. Lairy Johnson, ASARCO Environmental Manager
Place: Ay Caramba! Restaurant 8001 N. Mesa Street, Suite G
(Former Location Of Leo's Mexican Restaurant)
Remember, InForm El Paso is the ONLY venue where citizens have almost 2 hours of unstructured, face-to-face dialog with people that affect the quality of life in El Paso.
InForm El Paso Coordinators

AP Article in Fort Worth Star-Telegram, does not mention a decade of illegal sham-recycling

Friday, Jun 8, 2007 Asarco copper smelter may reopen
Fort Worth Star Telegram - Fort Worth,TX,USA
Soil tests in 2002 revealed elevated levels of lead and arsenic at 45 homes near the Asarco plant in El Paso, which had to be cleaned up. ...

Thursday, June 7, 2007

La Lorona, the crying woman

Art by Santiago Gonzalez Aragon 2004
(From series done about Asarco Smelter,
Smeltertown, El Paso, TX)

At ASARCO we played with the Dragon

"American Smelting And Refining Company" 

At ASARCO we played with the Dragon.
Making our way across sand, slag, and stones,
To the drainage dragon cave, cliff-face huge,
To the reptilian cloacal abyss.
Climbed down the steep cliff, inched along the lip
Stepped across mountain-ridge steep angle-tip
Blasted out of our minds, we crossed the entry
Way-Gate with an Escherian flip
Inner ears protesting, said, Welcome

To Hell, down, in the deep deep dark shadows.
Half sliding, debouched in the L-shaped cave,
Scramble, the sussuration of bellows
Guide our guests to where the land is a grave
Walls close in, darkness breathes. As Orpheus
Leads Eurydike , gathering black
Till the bend, light comes, low and sulpherous
Forbidden, we forbid all looking back,
Wend the way to the Gate of Tartarus,
This industrial dragon's lair, ASARCO,
To chilled first glimpse of this man-made Hades,
Out the back-gate, our checkpoint Alpo,
Watching for Shelob, or the Satanic
Cerberus, the dreaded Security.

Virgins lead forth by the cid-head herder
The Dragon stretched before us, moldering
Mechanical monster of a murdered
Land, our personal magical Mordor,
In the shrouded shadow of Golgotha,
The Night-forgotten Mont Cristo del Rey,
Wary of dogs, awed by Juggernaut
Fearful from hobbit as freshly dead souls,
We crept over slag to unhallowed ground
Gruesome, desolate, this barren set is
Truly worthy of Frankenstein Unbound
There ASARCO lives, breathes, and even eats.

The Dragon had killed, a oft deadly-beast.
First traces that showed depended on chance.
Three hoboes sleeping were laid to rest when
So it seems, we could see the Dragon dance
At a site hideous and unshriven
Where the dragon might show itself, and stir.
"Beep-Beep-Beep" as truck backed to edge of pit,
Halted, dripped detritus of the Refining Fire,
Slow flow of molten slag, luminescent,
Glowing, Tumbling, half-congealing jelly
Falling down to Sheol, the open grave bed

To the Dragon-kill pit, long ago horror,
Deep down in Sheol, the open grave-bed
The Dragon crapped, as we had seen. "Beep-Beep"
Went the truck's warning. Down flowed the doom
On the hapless tramps. To this day, one sees
The molded outline of their bodies, but
The bodies were burned to ash. Carbonized.
Rumor says one of them at last awoke,
For the mold showed his puzzled expression
At point Bravo, the Orange fire descended

Through the deadly fumes, across the ruined land
Marching, approach to the Dragon's secret
Treasure. The Dragon killed, preened itself, curled
Talons around the bone-yard, some rough beast
Slouching. A half-hill hid devastation,
Death-seeded, from the oblivious cars
Speeding along I-10, on their side a hill
Curtained the view. on our side, the Dragon,
Crouched, killed, feed, shit behind sheer carved cliff-wall

You see, once the people, the workers, the slaves,
Lived on site, a village called Smeltertown.
One by one, two by two, four by four, more
And more, family by family died,
Coughing the black-blood from their lungs until
They could cough no more, they died. None knew why
But we know now. Uneasy the dead did rest
For the Dragon had killed, slow consumption,
Kept the bones as a token of triumph
In the old Smeltertown cemetery,
Hidden by the scarred sepulchral half-hill.
by T.S. Ross

National Radio Show Features Ohio Network Live Tomorrow June 8



Note: We've just been confirmed to do a follow-up to our May 25th show tomorrow. It will air live on Friday, June 8, 11 a.m. EST (8 a.m. Pacific time). If you cannot tune in at that time, it will be available on the web (see below for instructions) soon, for about a month. For further information contact Carrie Crane at (440) 845-1888



Cleveland, OH: The “Detect and Protect” project was featured on the national radio show “Your Health Matters,” Dr. Gloria Gilbere’s weekly program that provides “health information you can use.” Her May 25th broadcast addresses how to be your own detective with the use of new technology.

The University of N. Carolina at Asheville, Environmental Quality Institute (EQI); the Ohio Network for the Chemically Injured (ONFCI); and Thermo-Scientific, manufacturer of the NITON x-ray fluorescence analyzer, have joined together to create an educational project that will provide low cost metal/element testing most people could not otherwise afford, while creating data to understand the link between the existence of metals in various media and health problems.

You can listen to a live recording for up to a month after the broadcast by visiting and clicking “archives” at the top of the page. Then click on Dr. Gloria Gilbere (Your Health Matters) and scroll down and click on the date 5/25/07.

This is a great opportunity to learn which of the 26 metals/elements may be harming your health, even if you don’t know which ones they are. To learn how to be a participant in this educational study or for additional information about FREE TESTING at ONFCI’s community event to be held on August 11, 2007, visit ONFCI’s website at: or phone (440) 845-1888.

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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

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


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.


Heather McMurray
M.S. Biological Sciences 

Asarco Ore Handling Permit (how can they re-open without one?)


The purpose of this letter is to inform you that we have received your request for information under the Texas Public Information Act, Texas Government Code Chapter 552. 

The ASARCO permit 4151 is currently in the Air Permits Division for the technical review.  Information relating to this review will be provided to you and others on the mailing list once the review is complete.  At this time, there is not an estimated time-frame for completion of the technical review. 

If you have any further questions concerning this matter, you may contact me at (512) 239-2427, or e-mail at


Mary Mahaney
Open Records Coordinator
Air Permits Division

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Asarco water permits TXR15BN67, TXR05P461

2007-April: Per your request of ASARCO Inc. El Paso, there is no combined storm-wastewater permit. There was however a Texas Land Application Permit ( TLAP ) Number WQ0002321000 for a facility named Asarco located at 2401 West Paisano, southeast of the intersection of Executive ParkRoad and US Highway 80A, in El Paso. This permit expired on September 1,2000. We do not have any records that show they have a pending renewal. Asarco currently has two Storm Water Permits,
TXR15BN67 and TXR05P461.....
A storm water general permit is issued for a five-year term. and currently all of our storm water general permits are state-wide. A public comment period is provided during the development of a general permit, prior to issuance, and a public meeting is typically held as well. However, coverage
under an approved general permit is not subject to public comment. The TCEQ an administrative review of the notice of intent (application). An interested person does have an opportunity to file a motion to overturn (MTO) on an authorization under a general permit under the TCEQ rules at 30 TAC 5 50.139. Under this rule, an interested person has 23 days from the date we acknowledge an authorization to file an MTO. If the MTO is considered by the Commission, it will be scheduled for a Agenda meeting. For additional information on filing an MTO, I would recomend contacting the TCEQ's Office of Public Assistance.

TXR15BN67 is a construction authorization number. The NOI was acknowledged on May 30,2006. Because this was acknowledged approximately one year ago, the opportunity to file an MTO has
passed. The CGP will be renewed in early 2008; so it is possible that a renewal NO1 will be required at that time. TXR05P461 is an MSGP authorization number. The MSGP (TXR050000) was renewed in August 2006, and renewal NOIs were due by November 12,2006 (or by December 12, 2006 if submitting electronically). The TCEQ's Storm Water Processing Center is currently entering the data from the renewal NOIs, and TXR05P461 has not yet been processed. If Asarco applied for a renewal of coverage, then an MTO could be filed within 23 days of TCEQ's approval of the NOI. For an update of the status of the renewal, the interested person can contact the Storm Water Processing Center at or by phone at (512) 245-0130.
It is possible that a different permit number will be assigned for the site, so it may be beneficial to search by authorization number (TXROjP461) as well as by company name and location.

-- TCEQ Customer Information and Assistance Team Water Quality Division

TCEQ is giving citizens from now until June 18 to write in and let them know how you feel about Asarco re-opening in El Paso

Voice your Opinion about Asarco

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is giving citizens from now until June 18 to write in and let them know how you
feel about Asarco re-opening in El Paso.

La Donna Castanuela

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

Office of the Chief Clerk MC 105

P.O. Box 13087

Austin, TX 78711-3087

Story Created: May 4, 2007 at 5:36 PM MDT

Find this article at:

How to receive all notices and updates for the Asarco El Paso Facility

In your earlier email you indicated that you had submitted a written hearing request for permit #4151.  Submitting comments or a hearing request in writing on a particular pending permitting action places you on the mailing list for that specific permit. I have confirmed with the Chief Clerk's office you are on the mailing list for the pending renewal #4151.
In order to be placed on a mailing list for ANY pending permitting action you must submit in writing either comments, a hearing request, a public meeting request, a request to be placed on the mailing list for that pending permit action or a request to be placed on the permanent mailing list for the specific permit.
If you are interested in receiving all future notices for the El Paso Asarco facility, I would recommend that you submit a written request to be placed on the "permanent mailing list " for the specific Asarco permit numbers that you are interested in.
You can find the permit numbers by searching the Air Permit database at
Submit your written request to
Attn: Chief Clerk MC 105
PO Box 13087
Austin, Texas 78701
The Office of Public Assistance

Asarco Ore Handling Permit #4151

[2006, April 11] No NOA/Preliminary Decision or written response to Comments has been received as of 2007, June 06

The Office of Public Assistance (OPA) is responsible for responding to the public on pending permitting actions therefore your email has been forwarded to OPA for a response.

The Asarco permit renewal application #4151 is seeking authorization to continue operation for the ore handling and storage facility. Within this permit application there are two projects that apply; 120312 and 121726. Any action on an operating permit or any other permits that this facility holds will be handled separately.

The renewal (#4151) is still under technical review. Your hearing request has been received and you are the mailing list for the renewal. You should receive confirmation of receipt of your hearing request soon. Once the technical review is complete and if the application meets the rules, the applicant will be required to publish the Notice of Application and Preliminary Decision. This notice will be mailed to you and all others on the mailing list. Please note that the technical review typically takes several months to complete. Because contested case hearing requests were received off of the first notice, the Notice of Receipt and Intent, the comment period remains open throughout the technical review process. At the end of the review process, staff will compile a written Response to Comments to all timely filed comments. This will also be mailed to you.

If you have any further questions, please contact OPA via email or at 800/687-4040.


The Office of Public Assistance

Don't touch the Dust...

Mago Orona - Celestial Girl mural, Douglas Elementary School, El Paso

They say: my sister's baby was born without a brain,
My neighbor's baby has a fused skull,
My friend is missing a limb

Heart defects in kids are rampant
My young friend has a scarred head
brain tumors at 21
3 dead at a school from cancer behind the eyes

It is allergies they say
As their noses bleed
As the dust stirs in the heavy wind
and lungs find it difficult to breath

The children are born with rashes
Skin with lumps and bumps
bones with cancers

Don't drink the water a young mother is told
Don't breathe the air, an elder is told
Don't touch the dust, a child is told.

Don't touch the dust.

Anapra, N.M., the most lead contaminated spot in New Mexico (see smelter down-river in the background), per the April, 28, 1982 Washington Post article (Leon found this) ... "the 102 folks who live in Anapra, N.M. are peeved with their Texas neighbors in El Paso. It seems that Anapra has the highest lead contamination readings in the state and the New Mexico officials claim the cause is a copper and lead smelting plant owned by Asarco Inc. in El Paso."

Anaprans (Sunland Park Environmental Group) want the responsible environmental officials to step down and for cleanup to begin. Anapra, N.M. is two miles from the smelter.

Asarco Texas Smelter Secretly Burned Toxic Waste for Nearly a Decade

NATIONAL | October 11, 2006
Copper Plant Illegally Burned Hazardous Waste, E.P.A. Says
A bankrupt copper giant facing billions of dollars in pollution claims across the nation pretended for years to recycle metals while illegally burning hazardous waste, according to an E.P.A. document.

see a copy of the document, posted at

Sham Recycling Creates Sham Decision?

Interview with Physiologist about Lead poisoning

Lead Poisoning - Evelyn A. Mauss - ECU #518

VERY GOOD! She is a consultant with the NRDC

Sierra Magazine

By Marilyn Berlin Snell
From the May/June 2006 issue of Sierra magazine

Asarco El Paso Smelter Cemetery 12/05

2004 Texas Observer article on Asarco El Paso

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The New Wave of Border Activism
Social Movements Crossing Frontiers
by Kent Paterson


Reality Tourists in a Border City
Another highlight of the BSF was a "reality tour" of low-income Ciudad Juarez neighborhoods and industrial sites. Halting on the banks of the Rio Grande in the Felipe Angeles colonia, reality tour guests peered directly across the river at the mothballed Asarco copper smelter located in El Paso but also only a couple of miles from the southern New Mexico city of Sunland Park. The old smelter is a rusting emblem of how environmental issues affect communities on both sides of the border.

Shut down in 1999, the plant is at the center of a fight between Asarco's owner, Grupo Mexico, and environmental groups and political leaders from Mexico and the United States over the company's plans to renew its Texas state environmental permit and restart production. The Carlyle Group associated with George Herbert Walker Bush is a principal investor in Grupo Mexico.

Asarco opponents maintain that a revived smelter will degrade an already polluted binational airshed, and they blame the transnational company for decades of lead, arsenic and other heavy metals contamination of neighborhoods in El Paso, Ciudad Juarez and Sunland Park — a problem the company denies was its fault. Immediately preceding the BSF, the Sierra Club [well, it was a Sierra Club member, but the actual news came from EPGTLO and SPEG] released a memo from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) it obtained through the Freedom of Information Act that reported Asarco had been illegally incinerating hazardous wastes during the 1990s. The document did not spell out exactly what Asarco burned.

Mariana Chew, the Sierra Club's El Paso–Ciudad Juarez field organizer, retorted during the reality tour that the environmental organization wants answers about what was burned and why the information was concealed from the public. "They knew it and they didn't tell us," Chew affirmed, adding that the Sierra Club demands the permanent closure of the Asarco site and the cleanup of its environs.

In a press statement, Asarco minimized the incineration revelation, contending that the company had merely recycled materials and had cleared up the matter with the EPA years ago. But Jacqueline Barragan, a member of the Students Against Asarco group at the University of Texas El Paso, which is situated behind the old plant and afflicted with "hot spots" of lead contamination, was aghast at the news of the EPA memo. "I felt violated, and actually it wasn't a surprise either that the city has covered this up and that these environmental agencies that are supposedly out there to watch out for our health aided in covering up this terrible secret," Barragan fumed....."