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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Monday 6-25 at 10:30 AM Signing ceremony at City Hall 2nd floor chambers

Invite for JAC Members: signing of Emergency
Plan for Hazardous Chemicals (USA EPA
Administrator to witness)

Texas may rule on Asarco copper smelter in August

Texas may rule on Asarco copper smelter in August

Fri Jun 22, 2007 6:13PM EDT

MEXICO CITY, June 22 (Reuters) - Texas could give U.S. copper miner Asarco the green light to restart its mothballed El Paso copper smelter any time from August onward, state environmental authorities said on Friday.

Andrea Morrow, spokeswoman for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, said no date was set for the hearing.

"The earliest it could be scheduled is August and the commision can grant the permit, deny the permit, or do something else," she said by telephone.

Reopening the 150,000 short ton per year smelter, built in the 19th century and closed amid low copper prices in 1999, would be an important financial boost for bankrupt Asarco, owned by Mexico City-based Grupo Mexico (GMEXICOB.MX: Quote, Profile, Research).

But a vocal lobby that includes environmental groups, some local officials and U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes oppose the smelter because of worries about air quality....

ConTop was a cover for the illegal burning of unmanifested poisons for profit (reply to El Paso Times article about UTEP economic study concerning ASARCO

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: ConTop was a cover for the illegal burning of unmanifested poisons for profit (reply to El Paso Times article about UTEP economic study concerning ASARCO)
Date: Sun, 03 Jun 2007 22:29:34 -0600
To: lgilo[at]

in 1992, after more than 100 years in operation, Asarco invested $100 million to modernize the El Paso plant using a new technology called ConTop which, officials said, increased production to 150,000 pounds of copper annually and reduced air emissions by more than 90 percent."

Dear Mr. Gilot,

ConTop reduced Sulfur dioxide, but it also did something called "energy recovery".  It was designed to burn non-traditional metal-bearing materials like shredded automobiles and sludge to generate heat to smelt traditional ores.  So, Asarco secretly shipped unrecorded (unmanifested) poisons into its plant and incinerated them for profit - they never intended to get any metals out of those materials.  The EPA tracked down 5000 tons -- enough to prove that materials from Rocky Mt. Arsenal and other sources had no metals in their materials for recovery -- the smelter never intended to smelt any metals.  It was an unlicensed hazardous waste incinerator in the middle of the Paso del Norte region and it poisoned us. (see attached article).  And, by the EPA's own admission, Asarco's business of incinerating hazardous waste was a big money maker for the smelter.  The EPA, the Department of Justice and Asarco kept that information hidden from our community for eight years, until we got the document from the D.O.J. and released it 10/2006.

So, while ConTop reduced some air emissions, it gave off tremendous toxic amounts of materials that the smelter and our environmental agencies never tested for.  We know that their brine concentrator, for example, was rated to handle Low Level Radioactive waste; and that from Asarco's own reports it handled chemical weapons quench water.

Thank you,
Heather McMurray

"Asarco commissioned a study on the economic impact of the proposed reopening of the El Paso copper smelter. Here are some of the result:
In El Paso
# 291 new direct jobs.
# 1,819 new indirect jobs.
# $73 million in new labor income per year from direct and indirect jobs.
# $1.16 billion in regional economic output.

At the Amarillo refinery
# 44 new jobs.
# 286 new indirect jobs.
# $11 million in new labor income per year from direct and indirect jobs.
# $134 million regional economic output.
In Texas
# 334 new direct jobs.
# 2,264 new indirect jobs.
# $92.7 million in new labor income per year from direct and indirect jobs.
# $1.35 billion in regional economic output."

#  50 million to clean-up a site like Helena Montana (El Paso site is worse)
# 1 Billion to clean-up Asarco contaminated sites in the USA
# 24 million alone to clean up the Asarco contamination beneath the old upper american
canal by the smelter in El Paso TX
#  Dying and ill workers (some costing $1000/day in experimental drugs to stay alive)
#  hidden costs of asthma, people dying slowly from C.O.P.D., costs of medical care/oxygen
#  hidden costs to police, schools and other public agencies from children exposed to heavy metals
    at an early early age causing explosive-anger, learning disabilities, emotional disabilities
#  hidden costs to residents of this region from brain, nasal, skin and other cancers
#  hidden costs to families whose babies suffered birth defects from the poisons

Friday, June 22, 2007

TCEQ failing to enforce identification and cleanup of contamination from illegal burning of toxic waste by Asarco El Paso

To:  TCEQ complaint

sb:  TCEQ failing to enforce identification and cleanup of contamination from illegal burning of toxic waste by Asarco El Paso

I am filing this as a formal complaint asking the TCEQ to run a full spectrometer analysis of the material dredged from the bottom of the 100 year old Asarco pond and sent to TX US ecology for storage, with the purpose of identifying the chemical compounds left here from the illegal sham-recycling by Asarco.  I also ask that a full spectrometer analysis be done of the present-bottom of that same pond at the Asarco site and where the most runoff would have contacted soil during the 9-4-06 collapse of Asarco rubber lake.  Also, please run an analysis from a scraping of the Asarco primary smoke-stack; and from the Ionics brine concentrator's concentrate chambers.  This analysis should include ash-incineration-technique to check for alpha and beta particles.

High level officials in the TCEQ and the EPA are violating honest services provision of the mail and wire fraud act by
  • failure to identify and enforce cleanup of the toxic poisons incinerated/stored by Asarco El Paso from its subsidiary in Corpus Christi, TX.
  • pretending to carry on a legitimate permitting process on the El Paso Asarco smelter while continuing to ignore that this site has NOT BEEN DECONTAMINATED from the burning of these wastes
  • failure to identify the wastes left here from this incineration/handling
  • failure to explain the resulting health effects to the community  
Public officials have known that these toxins are now in our water, the alluvial sediments and aquifer.  The TCEQ is failing to continue metal testing of the river below Asarco saying it "isn't necessary any longer".  The TCEQ is failing to identify the toxins left in our water supply from the decade of illegal Asarco sham-recycling.

Sham Environmental Justice?

To: Mr. Hook, Env. Justice Director EPA Region 6

sb:  EPA visit to El Paso June 20

Please send us a copy of your agenda during your visit to this region.  If necessary,please consider this an FOIA request for that information.   I would like to know the purpose of your visit to El Paso and this region, and whom you spoke/met with while here.

I live 3 miles from the Asarco smelter that burned toxic waste for nearly a  decade without a permit and contaminated our aquifer, much of that time on your watch.  I suggest that like the TCEQ's sham-permitting-process for Asarco's sham-recyling, you possibly are in charge of sham-environmental-justice and it is time you delivered actual justice to this regions' peoples.!OpenDocument
During that time you had to be aware of the largest TCEQ (Texas-EPA agreement state)hearing ever conducted on the Sierra Blanca nuclear dump, and were on watch when NYC's organized crime railed-and-dumped NYC sludge on the tiny minority town of Sierra Blanca.

Since your visit here, Asarco has canceled a public meeting for this weekend defending their position on re-opening this contaminated smelter.  If you visited with anyone connected with Asarco or representing Asarco interests, please let us know.

I am bc'ing this email to media contacts. 

Asarco sends up smoke screen

Letters published in El Paso Times

Asarco sends up smoke screen

Mr. Lairy Johnson, Environmental Manager of Asarco, has been addressing local groups with a PowerPoint presentation which is not entirely accurate.

Mr. Johnson has stated that the Asarco smelter has not burned hazardous wastes and Asarco's El Paso smelter has not been fined for burning hazardous wastes.

The truth, per a New York Times article and related EPA report, is that the EPA fined Asarco $20 million for burning hazardous chemical weapons waste for several years: (Google New York Times Asarco and look at the third listing, or go to

Mr. Johnson has stated that the Asarco smelter will not emit more air contaminants than 230 El Paso households.

The truth is that little or no sulfur dioxide would be emitted per year from 230 households, but over 6,000 tons per year of sulfur dioxide would be emitted into El Paso's air per year if Asarco were to reopen per Asarco's permit application

20345: (Google El Paso's smoke and lots or mirrors and look at the first listing, or go to

Noel Roberts
West El Paso

Cancer Risk From Environmental Arsenic Can Last for Generations

Cancer Risk From Environmental Arsenic Can Last for Generations

Chilean study finds rates for malignancy were still high decades after clean-up

TUESDAY, June 12 (HealthDay News) -- Decades after residents of a region in northern Chile were exposed to high levels of arsenic in their drinking water, they still suffer from high lung and bladder cancer death rates, concludes a study by U.S. and Chilean researchers.

The finding indicates a pattern of long-term arsenic-related health effects that hasn't been documented before, said the authors of a study in the June 12 Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

"The results show that the risks of concentrated arsenic exposure are extraordinarily high, and that they last a very long time, both after initial exposure, and after the exposure ends," principal investigator Allan Smith, professor of epidemiology at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health, said in a prepared statement....

SOURCE: University of California, Berkeley, news release, June 12, 2007
U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-El Paso, sent a letter this week to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, asking the commissioners to reject Asarco's request to renew its air quality permit."..."I'm posting the whole letter here, so you can read it yourself:Download asarco_tceq_letter_6.18.07.pdf

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Sault Ste Marie - low water exposes dangerous sediment

[sounds like the Rio Grande below Asarco El Paso....]

Low water levels along the St. Mary's River have likely uncovered more than a century's worth of contaminated sediment, says a member of the joint U.S. and Canadian group charged with monitoring the troubled waterway.....

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US Gov. says that Bankruptcy doesn't protect Asarco from YAK Tunnel Colorado mine environmental cleanup

Asarco LLC, a bankrupt mining company, can`t use bankruptcy and a
joint-venture structure to absolve itself of the need to prevent a
disaster at its former lead and zinc mine, the US government said.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

EPA Water Headlines - June 18, 2007 (arsenic)

Water Headlines for June 18, 2007 Benjamin H. Grumbles Assistant
Administrator Office of Water

Water Headlines is a weekly on-line publication that announces publications, policies, and activities of the US Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Water

In This Week?s Water Headlines:
1) New Products Released to Help Small Systems Meet Regulations Controlling Arsenic in Drinking Water
2) EPA Seeks Drinking Water Utilities for Contaminant Warning System Pilot Projects
3) Watershed Academy June 21st Webcast to feature STORET?EPA?s repository of water quality monitoring data
4) Subscribe to Water Headlines

ASARCO Is Deceiving the Public

ASARCO Is Deceiving the Public

ASARCO can’t be trusted. The people of El Paso have
not been fully informed about the prior occurrences
with ASARCO, nor as to the validity of any research
that ASARCO claims will show that they never polluted.

ASARCO illegally burned DOD hazardous chemical weapons waste here in El Paso during the 1990’s, and they didn’t have a license to do so. They did it once and they will do it again. The CONTOP tower that they hold so highly is used by many European smelters to process hazardous wastes; they used it here in El Paso to process hazardous wastes. They broke the law and got a slap on the wrist when they were caught. Why? Because America (the rest of the country) is foaming at the mouth, or looking for, a place to get rid of all its toxic garbage, and El Paso seems a nice out of the way place to do so.

The aspect of creating jobs is acting as a smokescreen
to keep the focus off of the real issue of environmental racism.
Scott / Central El Paso