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Saturday, July 7, 2007

Asarco El Paso crushed slag was used as ROOFING BALLAST

"Posted on July 6, 2007

Asarco Slags Off
In response to Sick ‘Em, City of El Paso: Going After Asarco, by Chris Cummings. [link]

Great article.

I think that it is interesting that we all look at the "reduced" pollution and repelling blight on the landscape; but, we ignore what is going into the ground. Years back, I was involved in a building renovation project where the existing roof ballast was crushed slag from ASARCO. The roof had leaked for a good while and the water seeped into the structural reinforced concrete roof deck. The acid from the rain and slag had completely corroded the steel reinforcing and the concrete was disintegrating.

How much longer will we allow this albatros to hang around the necks of those who are trying to sell El Paso to progressive, clean businesses. Maybe if we cleaned up our billboard blight, we could better get the full impact of the ASARCO view.

Thank you,

Mervin Moore"

Friday, July 6, 2007

up to the end of 1996, Asarco's baghouse (Pugmill) had routed exhaust to the 308 ft stack NOT THE 828 FT STACK

1996 Asarco El Paso ALTERATION TECHNICAL REVIEW   Permit No: 20345 Company: ASARCO Incorporated   Project Type: CRVN Facility Name: REROUTE CONVERTER   Record No: 46064  City: El Paso   Account No: EE-0007-G County: El Paso  
ASARCO requested that they be allowed to reroute the baghouse stack exhaust from the pugmill from the present 308-foot stack to the 828-foot copper stack annulus.  There will be no increase, or decrease, of emission rate from this facility.
REGION: 6 Reviewed by: Archie Clouse  
CITY: El Paso Reviewed by: Jesus Reynoso
The exhaust gasses from the holding furnace and converters, which are rich in SO2,  are cleaned of particulate matter before they are conditioned and converted to SO3.  The SO3 gas is then scrubbed with water to produce 98% sulfuric acid.  The particulate matter captured from this gas stream is sent to the pugmill where it is mixed with a little moisture and loaded in rail cars for recycling.  Some of this material is recycled at this facility.
A safety inspection has shown that the 308-foot stack is in need of repairs.  The stack was originally built over  80 years ago.  The company wants to reroute the pugmill baghouse exhaust stack to the taller copper stack  annulus.  The old stack will be removed.  The taller stack will give better dispersion of the emissions.
The pugmill is controlled by the baghouse, which is BACT.  In my opinion, BACT has been applied to this facility.
1. Was modeling done? No  Type?  N/A
2. Will GLC of any air contaminant cause violation of NAAQS?

3. Is this a sensitive location with respect to nuisance?  
4. Is the site within 3000 feet of any school?  

5. Toxics Evaluation: This is a change of representation for the pugmill baghouse stack to vent into a taller stack.  This will help lower the off-property impacts.
1. Was a NOV issued for construction without a permit?  
2. Was the NOV resolved by issuance of permit?

1. Is applicant in agreement with special conditions?  
Company representative(s)? Tom Martin
Contacted via? Fax
Date of contact?

2. Did the franchise tax verify the applicant to be in good standing?
Permit Engineer     Date  Team Leader/Section Manager/Backup  Date
Revised 06-11-96

1997 Encycle applied to handle a metal-bearing liquid from US Army RMA, Colorado

Company: Encycle /Texas Inc.                   
Registration Number: 34843      Record Number: 49506
Contact Name: Roger Norman                      
Phone: 512-289-0300 ex 243     Fax: 6713       
Description of Overall Unit:   The company requests to handle  a metal bearing liquid from the US Army’s Rocky Mountain Arsenal.   Permit HW-50221 applies.                         
Description of Facilities/Processes Claimed in this Registration and Exemptions Claimed: The company claims that  all Requirements of Exemption 118 are met.             
Sources, Emissions and Control Summary: This review is being conducted under standard exemption rules only.  The company claims that the liquid (analysis attached) should have emissions of approximately zero.  The liquid is mixed with sodium sulfite to precipitate metals.  The liquids will have any emissions vented through a scrubber.  The only emissions based upon the analysis would be from dissolved low concentrations of ammonia and bromine.  Any very small emissions of ammonia or bromine that would volatilize out of the liquid will be soluble and very scrubbable.  Emissions should be approximately zero.  The distance to the nearest receptor is estimated at 600'.  The emissions of ammonia and bromine would be under a limit of  (E = 18/65 = 0.28 lbs/hr) and  (E = 0.7/65 = 0.011 lbs/hr).  
Pollution Reduction - Source or Device(s) None
VOC__ No__ Sox__ CO__ PM__ HAS__
P.D. or Nonattainment Netting Required?  No   Submitted?     NSPS: No      NESHAPS No  
All General and Specific Conditions are met?  Yes  
Reviewed By:   John Gott   Team Leader:                  
Date: 2/27/97           Date:              

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Thousands of Asbestos Claims Delay ASARCO Reorganization Plan

Thousands of Asbestos Claims Delay ASARCO Reorganization Plan

Copper-mining company ASARCO LLC has asked a U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Corpus Christi, Texas to grant them an extension for filing their reorganization plan, claiming that they are overwhelmed with asbestos injury claims and myriad environmental pollution lawsuits.

According to a Forbes article, the company claims it is justified in asking for an extension until December, noting that it’s case is complex. The mining company is currently facing 95,000 personal injury asbestos-related claims. The deadline for reorganization is currently set to expire on August 9th, 2007.

“While Asarco’s reorganization may not be the largest corporate reorganization in history based on assets alone, it certainly rivals any previous Chapter 11 case for complexity and breadth of the individual issues involved,” a statement issued by the company said.

ASARCO has already received six extensions since filing for bankruptcy in August 2005. A spokesperson for the company notes, however, that they have made “significant progress” in developing their restructuring plan and negotiating with creditors and expect to be able to meet the December date if the extension is granted.

According to the article, the company has also filed motions to obtain court-approved estimates of the tens of thousands of asbestos claims as well as 850 tort claims and its liability for environmental cleanup.

ASARCO is currently faced with environmental claims filed by the U.S. government, 16 states, two Indian tribes and private parties. Those claims total more than $10 billion, according to the company.

Lawyers for those individuals with asbestos claims against ASARCO have noted that the company’s asbestos liabilities are between $906 million and $2.66 billion.

Mexico: miners on strike (Grupo Mexico)

"Published: 07.05.2007

Mexico miners begin 24-hour walkout over safety concerns

The Associated Press
MEXICO CITY - Mexican miners began a 24-hour nationwide walkout Thursday to press demands for labor authorities to address safety concerns.
Carlos Pavon, secretary of political affairs at the National Mining and Metal Workers Union, said the walkout began in the early morning, although the union didn't know yet how many workers had honored the strike call.
The walkout affects, among others, Grupo Mexico, a major copper producer, and Industrias Penoles, the world's top silver producer. The 250,000-member union also includes workers of steel plants owned by Arcelor Mittal in the Pacific port of Lazaro Cardenas.
An official at Grupo Mexico said that early reports showed its zinc mine in the northern state of Zacatecas was 30 percent affected by the walkout and that work was halted at a small mine in the city of Taxco, in the Pacific coast state of Guerrero. The official had no report yet from Cananea, the country's largest copper mine, in the northwestern state of Sonora.............."

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Improved early morning diet can help block some effects of lead

Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology ; VOL. 56 ; ISSUE: 4 ; PBD: Apr 1996
Gulson, B.L. [Macquarie Univ., Sydney (Australia)]|[CSIRO/dEM, North Ryde (Australia)] ; Howarth, D. [CSIRO/dEM, North Ryde (Australia)] ; Mizon, K.J. [Lyell McEwin Health Service, Elizabeth Vale (Australia)][and others]
ABSTRACT: The goal of hazard abatement is the identification and systematic elimination of lead hazards in the community, which should ultimately result in lowering of blood lead (PbB), especially in children. Such a goal is a daunting task in mining or smelting communities such as Broken Hill in Australia where industrial activities operating for more than 100 years and natural weathering over millennia have resulted in widespread contamination.The single most important factor in managing of childhood lead poisoning is reducing the child`s exposure to lead. Luke reviewed the remediation programs in seven large smelter operations outside Australia using environmental and biological indices, before and after intervention, to gauge the success. He concluded that outcomes varied from temporary improvements in Kellog, Idaho to apparently more successful outcomes in El Paso and Dallas, Texas. At Port Pirie, Luke identified that the most significant predictor of a reduction in PbB levels was permanent relocation out of the high risk areas, whereas in a later assessment Maynard identified, in addition to permanent relocation, level of expenditure on house dedusting and refurbishment, improved dust hygiene practices, and improved early morning diet as likely to reduce PbB levels. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact on PbB of relocation of two families from their source of lead, in this case from the Broken Hill mining community. To gauge the impact of relocation, the results are compared with twenty seven children who relocated within the Broken Hill community from high to low risk areas. 24 refs., 1 tab.

Why Would a Las Crucen Care About Asarco?

Robert Rowley

"Many of us in the City of the Crosses follow El Paso politics closely. Perhaps we can learn a lesson from our Big Sister in Texas: how to shut down a major polluter that doesn’t have the citizens’ best interests in mind.

Posted on July 3, 2007
I won’t speak for other Las Crucens, but I am one resident of the City of the Crosses who adamantly opposes Asarco reopening in El Paso....."
see the following link for the story....

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Slide Show of idled old smelter

Asarco El Paso (idled closed old smelter)

KTSM Channel 9 breaking news: TCEQ Public Interest Counsel accuses Asarco of breaking state code...

"ASARCO Battle Continues
New allegations against ASARCO have surfaced after a report was released by a state agency created to represent the interest of citizens.

Saturday, June 30, 2007 - The Office of Public Interest Council is among those who oppose ASARCO's reopening.

The agency claims the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, or TCEQ, violated a state code when it gave the copper smelter a second chance to renew its air quality permit....."

Asarco smelted wastewater sludges from mine drainage clean-up

Heavy-metal sludges as smelter feedstock. (Asarco Inc.) : How Asarco Cleans Mine Discharge Water and Scores Economic Benefits As Well

also read:
("Grazin' Hell by Prendergast, about Montana DOJ environmental politics)

Asarco would take us back to a polluted past

Robert Rowley

Robert Rowley

I remember the first time I tasted the air near the Asarco copper smelter in El Paso, Texas. It was 1990, and my wife and I had just moved there from Tucson, Ariz., to start teaching jobs in the English Department at the campus of the University of Texas-El Paso. I soon met two professors who shared my love of hiking, and the three of us were returning home from an all-day trip to Guadalupe Mountains National Park, when we saw a dense cloud hanging over the freeway near the university.......