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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Downtown Bridge Blues by Sito Negron// link to the EPgtlo blog

If these are the east-west rail lines that are serviced by the crossings (mentioned by Rep. Reyes below) then this issue has something in common with ASARCO.

The rail lines run right through the ASARCO site and over the toxic land. ASARCO is owned by Grupo Mexico (an investor is CARLYLE GROUP), who owns 1/2 the freight right-of-way in Mexico. ASARCO sits in Railroad district 8, whose headquarters is in MIDLAND TEXAS, home of the Bush Family who are principle investors in the CARLYLE group. All the nuclear dump sites proposed in the last 16 years here, were sited in Railroad District 8..... the sludge dumps -- here.... the toxic burning at ASARCO... here. Everyone made money on burning and dumping waste here. Now we have the Andrews County (railroad district 8) nuclear dump; they are reopening the MERCO sludge dump; they want to restart the toxic-waste-burning ASARCO ConTop furnaces. And, the federal government is putting money into making our downtown rail crossing safer. DO YOU FEEL SAFER YET?????


Downtown Bridge Blues by Sito Negron

"The merchants who already were upset about the work being done at the city’s international bridges are fairly apoplectic about a proposal to raise bridge fees. And the upcoming move to shift pedestrians from the current El Paso Street entrance to temporary inspection that will empty to Oregon isn’'t helping the mood. The International Bridge Commission will discuss the issue next week. ....
Posted on July 13, 2007

The federal project is overseen by the General Services Administration, and involves the Department of Homeland Security because of the inspection issues involved at the international border.

“The construction will be inconvenient and I understand the frustration of business owners in the
area,” said Congressman Silvestre Reyes. “I encourage
customers to continue visiting the affected businesses
during the construction period. The safety of our railroad crossings, though, is extremely important, and the long-term public safety benefits of this construction will serve our entire community.”"

Friday, July 27, 2007

August 2005 Rally at the Border Against Asarco

The Onslaught of Pro-Asarco News begins ...

$$$ Since July 16.... $$$  $$$ The Onslaught begins $$$

July 26:
Reclaman en El Paso gasto por campaña vs Asarco

July 21:
Asarco: ‘¿El texto como pretexto?’

July 20:
Generaría Asarco 21 mdd en impuestos: informe

July 19:
Emitió el incendio en basurero 44 ton de contaminantes
Apertura bajaría impuestos a la propiedad: regidor paseño

July 18:
Calculan impacto de reapertura en 1,000 mdd al año
Amenazan con tomar las instalaciones de la planta
Acuerda Cabildo de EP contratar empresa para aclarar desinformación

July 17:
Cartas: opina sobre Asarco
Sin pruebas, impacto ambiental
Protección al ambiente, el argumento

July 16:
Asarco... lucha de intereses
Quién es el Grupo México
Sepulta modernización a una vieja planta
Crece el frente opositor
Historia de Asarco
Proceso de la compañía por obtener el permiso de emisiones número 20345 ante la TCEQ
Eximen estudios a la fundidora
Verdad sin prejuicios


(for online translation, to get the gist of the articles for English-only-readers, please go to:

Number of environmental cops decreasing

Number of environmental cops decreasing
Staff and agencies
26 July, 2007

By RITA BEAMISH, Associated Press Writer 14 minutes ago
Fewer U.S. environmental cops are tracking criminal polluters these days, their numbers steadily dropping below levels ordered by Congress. They are pursuing fewer environmental crimes in a strategy by the Bush administration to target bigger polluters.
An internal memorandum from one of the agency‘s top lawyers, obtained by The Associated Press, said the EPA is violating the U.S. Pollution Prosecution Act of 1990, which requires the agency to employ at least 200 criminal investigators.
In the legal memo, criminal office counsel Michael Fisher said Congress intended to increase criminal prosecutions under pollution laws by setting minimum staffing levels. Fisher wrote the memo to Assistant Administrator Granta Nakayama. Fisher did not return telephone calls and e-mails from The Associated Press over two days.
Schaeffer heads an advocacy group, Environmental Integrity Project, that compared five-year averages of the Bush and Clinton administrations and found a significant decrease in the numbers of criminal pollution investigations and civil lawsuits and the amounts of fines assessed under President Bush.

Ant Bait (a Parable about toxic waste)

A Tale

Once upon a time there were many tiny ants that were hungry and looking for food. They were very busy and were looking in so many places that the housewife put out peanut butter, with sugar in it, and boric acid. The ants didn't know that the poison was there: it kept the ants busy, working hard.

The ants were so excited that they swarmed the peanut butter. More and more ants came, and slowly took the food away.

And the hidden poison in the peanut butter and sugars that the ants couldn't taste, eventually killed them.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

(web page translated by Babelfish)
It restrains to Asarco the interests
Without scientific bases, competing groups to the reapertura of the fundidora have delayed the beginning [WHAT ABOUT THE TOXIC WASTES?]
Gabriela Minjares

The opposition that exists for the reapertura of the fundidora Asarco on the part of several sectors of the border Juárez-El Paso-Sunland Park lacks scientific arguments and solid bases to demonstrate that an environmental damage in the region has been caused.[this is not correct - see the link in the beginning of this blog to the EPA SECRET DOCUMENT TO THE DEPT.OF.JUSTICE about the illegal and secret burning of toxic waste by Asarco in El Paso]
The producing copper plant, located in the Surponiente of the Passage from 1887, closed its operations in 1999 before the fall of the international prices of this metal. When in 2002 the company tried to reinitiate its workings and managed the renovation of its permissions of emissions (that had won), was with this ample competing front that has prevented the reapertura to consider that the plant will contaminate the medioambiente of this border region.[Asarco's new ConTop furnaces did reduce sulfur dioxides in the air - but, Asarco did not tell the community that the ConTop was designed to burn Toxic Waste AND the El Paso plant was not ever given a permit to officially/legally burn toxic waste].[WHAT ABOUT THE TOXIC WASTES?]
Nevertheless, in agreement with an ample investigation made by the Newspaper, many of the arguments of the groups that are against the reapertura of the fundidora are based on presumptions and disinformation, investigated situations that to the being left in the open I interest other people's to the environmental cause. [Who supplied the data for this story?][WHAT ABOUT THE TOXIC WASTES?]
None of the environmental studies - independent officials and made by several agencies, Mexican and American dependencies and organizations have determined that Asarco is the main source of contamination in this border[both Weston Solutions and the Sierra Club in separate studies showed the link between Asarco and the lead contamination]
That conclusion one reaches after making a revision to the diverse studies that the competing groups have used like foundation to sustain their opposition to that the permission of reapertura to Asarco is granted, of all which the Newspaper has copy in their power.[WE NEED TO TEST FOR, MEASURE AND TALK ABOUT THE ILLEGAL TOXIC WASTES BURNED BY ASARCO]
Although some of those studies conclude that when the fundidora used lead in its process he was partially responsible for the contamination of the border ground, the data used in those reports correspond to information of three decades ago, every time the company let use the lead in 1980. In addition, it eliminated the fundidora of lead in 1985.
In addition, most of these reports they do not take into account the technological changes made by Asarco in the decade to the 90,[umm are we talking about ConTop here? ] as well as they do not establish either that now the plant is prepared to fuse copper, that completely eliminated the lead use and that the company not even is the same one[Asarco's own 4151 Ore handling permit and emissions state that the ores will contain and that it will emit lead (Pb)]
The American Smelting and Refining Company (Asarco) was a North American company until in 1999 it sold in his totality the Mexico Group, Mexican mining company that from 1965 had the 49 percent of the actions.[Asarco is now owned by Grupo Mexico, who owns over 50% of the Freight Railroad right-of-way in Mexico; and whose investors include the CARLYLE GROUP]
The commercial relation of the Group Mexico and Asarco goes back at the beginning of 1900, when they established mining operations in Mexico and they developed to the mine Santa Eulalia and the smelting of Chihuahua, through a denominated subsidiary Mining Company Asarco.
In 1965, as a result of a change in the Mexican legislation that imposed restrictions to the foreign participation in the share capital of Mexican mining societies, the company was reorganized and several Mexican investors acquired most of the share capital of the society.
With the passage of time, the Mexico Group grouped several companies until becoming at world-wide level the second bigger company of copper reserves, the third copper producer and the fourth producer of silver. [THEN THEY CAN AFFORD TO CLEAN UP THEIR TOXIC WASTES LEFT IN THE PASO DEL NORTE REGION?!] To the group Germa'n Larrea presides over at the present time Speck Velasco, one of the richer Mexican industralists of the world, that simultaneously is advisor of Banamex and the Television Group.
Between its directors they appear Valentin Diaz Morodo, ex- vice-president of the Group Modelo; Claudius X. González, president of Kimberly Clark of Mexico and director of General Electric [note: Carbon Dioxide, SO2, NO2 and other emissions-amounts are TRADEABLE ON THE OPEN COMMODITIES MARKETS], Kellogs, Home Depot, Carso Group and Television Group; Striking Juan Thurlow, member of the Sugar Group Mexico; and Juan Rebolledo Gout, who was private secretary of Carlos of Gortari and Saline undersecretary of Outer Relations in the administration of Ernesto Zedillo.
The studies made by the Agency of Environmental Protection - dependency of the Government of the United States who is in charge to direct the environmental policies; EPA, by its abbreviations in English -, they reflect that Asarco is not the main source of contamination of the air in the Step. [but no one has tested for the Toxic Waste --- so, WHAT ABOUT THE TOXIC WASTE?]
The emissions to the air that Asarco registered in 1999, their last year of operations, were not greater to the emissions than they had other nine companies in 2000, which they are at the moment in operation in the Step, nor exceed the limits established by the State of Texas, indicate the reports of the EPA.
The Study of the Released Toxic Inventory (TRI, in English) emitted by the EPA in 2002 informs that companies established in the Step, such as the manufacturer of floors of loseta Dal Tile Corporation, the refineries Western and Chevron, Fort Bliss and four companies more, emitted more polluting particles than the registered ones by Asarco in 1999, three years before. [wiw, how about that. WHAT ABOUT THE TOXIC WASTE?]
The companies mentioned in this report declined to comment out on the matter and, as the EPA has not returned to evaluate the emissions in the community, the present levels are not known [TRUE THE LEVELS OF TOXIC WASTE CHEMICALS ARE UNKNOWN].
"the opening of Asarco is not a threat to the medio.ambiente. From the implementation of ConTop, the things have changed ",[YES, CONTOP ALLOWS THE BURNING OF TOXIC SLUDGES AND OTHER WASTES] assures Lairy Johnson, manager of medio.ambiente of the fundidora in the Step.
The ConTop technology (Continuous Top-Feed Oxigen Process), is a system that allows to fuse copper to one more a higher temperature, reason why the process is faster and the emissions are reduced in a 90 percent to the atmosphere. [WHAT ABOUT THE TOXIC WASTES?] Nevertheless, the technological advances implemented by the company are not considered by the ample front of opposition that has been integrated against the reapertura of the plant.
Integrated by several officials government, like the mayors of City Juárez, Héctor Murguía; of the Step, John Cook; and of Sunland Park, Safe Rubén; as well as environmental and civil legislators and associations of both sides of the border, the opposition front affirms that Asarco represents a great danger for the region.
One of the main opponents to the reapertura of the plant is the government of the Step, reason why it has launched a campaign in which it has invested almost million dollars (around 11 million weights, according to the type of present change) of the contributors in legal expenses and advertising announcements to act and to pronounce themselves against the fundidora.
"We do not love an industry that sends 80 thousand tons of polluting agents every year. We do not think that he is right for the medio.ambiente since is a threat for the health of people and the economic development ", says John Cook, mayor of the Step.
Cook affirms that their arguments are based on the request of permission that put under Asarco before the Commission for the Quality of the Medio.ambiente of Texas (TCEQ by its abbreviations in English) to obtain from new account the authorization and to reinitiate operations, but the document that the mayor paseño mentions does not contain the data that refer, since the same be in possession of the Newspaper.
However, Cook mayor has not only continued with his campaign but that in addition for sale offered lands of Asarco to developer of diverse branches without the fundidora acceded to carry out these negotiations.[WHAT ABOUT THE TOXIC WASTES?]
"They - the Town hall of the Step wants the land more than another thing. We have been blocked by the government, does not fit doubt; a great campaign against Asarco exists ", affirms the manager of the fundidora.[WHAT ABOUT THE TOXIC WASTES?]
Johnson is not mistaken when she indicates that a "great campaign" against the company exists, since from the beginning of the proceeding of reapertura in 2002 a binational network formed to fight against the same one.[WHAT ABOUT THE TOXIC WASTES?]
Headed by the international organization environmentalist Mountain range Club and with the endorsement of American senator Eliot Shapleigh, the front has extended to Mexico and has had greater resonance in Juárez through civil organizations who have summoned the same neighbors of the plant, that to legislators and authorities of the three levels of government.
"We are an international organization that we have contact with countries as Mexico and our interest to maintain closed Asarco is by social and taken care of justice to the medio.ambiente", asserts Mariana Chew, leader of Mountain range Club in the Step.
Nevertheless, the speech of opposition of this front is based on studies with untimely data, that do not consider the technological changes made by the plant [CONTOP][WHAT ABOUT THE TOXIC WASTES?] and reject the conclusions of governmental agencies like the TCEQ, that determined that Asarco is within the normal standards of emissions and can to authorize the operation leave. [THE SMOKING GUN MEMO LETS US KNOW THAT THE TCEQ IS HIDING THE TOXIC WASTE]
A new turn far from the ecological question
The battle joined by Asarco and the diverse blocks of opposition by the reapertura of the fundidora plant have acquired a new moved away turn of the ecological question. The land in which is the company has taken a great importance in the litigation.[THE EMISSIONS ARE WORTH MONEY INTERNATIONALLY]
The lot property of Mexico Group is located in the 2301 the West of the street Of the same country in the Step and have an extension of more than 161 hectares of which 50 correspond the structure of the fundidora of copper.
According to paseño Alexandro exposes the regidor Lozano, the land property of Asarco has enviable characteristics due to its logistic location and.
It indicates that the land in which account with wagon infrastructure is located the fundidora plant and geographic position that allows connections with other towns and, mainly, with Juárez City, reason why are an ideal place for the development of very diverse projects.[WHAT ABOUT THE TOXIC WASTES?]
Official documents indicate that the government of the Step met with eight developers in order to analyze the possibilities of creating new projects in the land in which is the fundidora of Asarco copper.
"a conflict of interests on the part of the City Exists. They want the land ", assures the manager the plant.[WHAT ABOUT THE TOXIC WASTES? DOES THE CITY AND DO THE TAXPAYERS REALLY WANT TO TAKE ON THE UNCLEANED UP, UNMEASURED, UNDECLARED CONTAMINATION/POISON?]
In order to prove this suspicion, the Asarco asked for by means of the Law of Access to the Information of the United States (FOIA, by its abbreviations in English) the documents that they establish that the government of the Step met with eight developers of several branches.
In these documents, of which the Newspaper has in its power a copy, one settles down that Chuck Hendrix and Rick Goff, of the park of diversions Six Flags; Jason Leinehan, of The Place; Mac McClure, of the Main group Investment; Brad Snow and Katy Kier, of Reliable multicast Transport; Travis Gilbert, of Koontz-Mc Comb; the Cabelás company and personnel of the Foundation Brownfield Stewardship, met with civil employees of the Municipality in answer to the call of the City.
Only which they visited the plant was the representatives of Six Flags, route who did at the beginning of this year by means of a request made by the government of the Passage through the lawyer who takes the case of bankruptcy of the company, indicates the director of Asarco, Lairy Johnson.
The civil employee of the fundidora explains that they agreed in which the representatives of Six Flags visited the plant [WOW DID THEY WEAR HAZMAT SUITS ... WHY DID THE EPA WEAR HAZMAT SUITS TO TAKE SOIL SAMPLES IN THIS REGION?] [WHAT ABOUT THE TOXIC WASTES?]like part of the obligations that establishes the bankruptcy procedure, to maintain a policy of open doors and to offer visits guided the people interested in the operations of the company.
"the request made by the city of the Step made us ask for the public opening of documents in last March. The documents that we received do not detach all the content or the intentions of the city to put themselves in contact with developer and to look for valuations of our land ", add.
On the matter, Cook mayor explains that the city of the Step only offered alternatives to Asarco to do something with its property in case that the permission of emissions did not renew to them.
"When Asarco signed the bankruptcy process, we wanted to know the terms in which are the lands and how much it would cost to again clean them in order to be developed", it adds.
The regidor Lozano says that the position of the City is a weapon of double edge since, to occur the reapertura, Asarco it could demand them.
It refers as antecedent the closing of the nocturnal center Foxy's in the Step, that it demanded to the City by a million dollars after which outside the local government the one who requested his closing.
"In exchange for not paying that number, one remembered that we (the municipal government) would not have authority on them. The same it could happen with Asarco, but this time we would be speaking of one (demand by one) much greater number ".
Lairy Johnson mentions that Asarco takes a file with the documents that guarantee the actions of the government of the Step and which they try to give his version of the facts whenever it occurs to know information erroneous. [WHAT ABOUT THE TOXIC WASTES?]

Monday, 16 of Julio of 2007

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Please use this URL to get nice concise list of EPgtlo posts

Just a Little Rain

by Malvina Reynolds

Just a little rain falling all around
The grass lifts its head to the heavenly sound
Just a little rain, just a little rain
What have they done to the rain?

Just a little boy standing in the rain
The gentle rain that falls for years
And the grass is gone and the boy disappears
And the rain keeps falling like helpless tears
And what have they done to the rain?

Just a little breeze out of the sky
The leaves nod their heads as the breeze blows by
Just a little breeze with some smoke in its eye
And what have they done to the rain?

Full Committee Hearing - Water Technology Related Legislation
Thursday, October 20, 2005

Mr. Edmund Archuleta El Paso Water Utilities -- on water reuse, including stormwater [which means treating that stormwater to remove bad things so that it can be reused]

My utility in El Paso must work with multiple jurisdictions including the United States and Mexico, Texas and New Mexico, and multiple counties, all of which face the challenge of providing water resources to a growing population in an arid region of our country. This experience, and my service as Chairman of the AwwaRF Board of Trustees and as a Board Member of the Water Reuse Foundation has convinced me that it is essential for our nation to identify and develop new technologies to treat new sources of water, including brackish groundwater, and to do so in the most energy efficient manner possible." [the utility will eventually treat storm water - and no one has talked about ASARCO's liability for the clean-up and removal of what it dumped here that we, the taxpayers, will ultimately bear the costs for clean-up --- this means, our stormwater]
WaterReuse members use advanced treatment processes and monitoring to produce water of sufficient quality for the intended purpose from treated municipal and industrial effluent, storm water, agricultural drainage, and sources with high salinity such as seawater and brackish water. "

Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System Annual Report;City of El Paso and TxDOT El Paso District -- TPDES Permit No. WQ0004527000 March 26, 2007
"BMP A4-5: Use Retention Basins for Storm Water Treatment-- Currently, 271 storm water retention basins are in place throughout the City to accept and retain storm water run-off for flood control. Twelve small retention basins were incorporated into the City through new development during the 2006 reporting period." (these become mini-toxic-waste-dumps with wind and run-off deposition accumulating among other things, Asarco's ENCYCLE wastes)

the City immediately re-prioritized capital projects and was able to utilize the general operating fund to initiate the redesign and reconstruction. Additionally, the City Manager has recommended to Council the creation of a Stormwater Management & Utility District, under the possible auspices of the El Paso Water Utilities to fund such future infrastructure needs."
Notice of Water Quality Applications
The following notices were issued during the period of January 24,
2006 through January 27, 2006.

which operate the City of El Paso Municipal Separate
Storm Sewer System (MS4), have applied for a renewal of NPDES Permit No. TXS000801 which authorizes storm water point source discharges to surface water in the state from the City of El Paso Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4). This permit will be renewed as TPDES Permit No. WQ0004527000. The MS4 is located within the corporate boundary of the City of El Paso, in El Paso County, Texas."

31 TexReg 908 February 10, 2006 Texas Register

Motion to Overturn Asarco Storm Water Permit

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Asarco water contamination costs are picked up by you, the Taxpayer....

We discovered that Asarco rewrote their Storm water permit Notice of Intent last summer to discharge to a city storm water system (we had an MS4 ("municipal separate storm sewer system") but Asarco had always claimed to be zero runoff - we had no storm water utility).

What then happened is that state and federal representatives went to their legislative bodies and got funding passed for City storm water system this past winter, because of the big 500-yr flood of AUG-2006.

Then, the City/County in spring this year in an un-televised 10'th floor City Council special meeting [City Council member Ms. Byrd told me that this meeting was audio-recorded] voted to authorize a Storm Water district, funded by the taxpayers. Taxpayers will not vote on this during elections.

No one has told the taxpayers that the unsampled/undisclosed toxic waste that runs off into the storm system will transfer liability now from Asarco to the taxpayers.

The Federal/TX general sector storm water permit was automatically renewed and authorized by TCEQ on June-25-2007 from the NOI (notice of intent) filed end of Aug-2006 by Asarco. Any Motions to Overturn must be submitted by 5 pm Austin time, tomorrow 7-23-07.

Just like the City-contracted Attorney, Erich Birch [whom I respect, but also respectfully disagree with], ignored the Federal Title V permit renewal last summer, not notifying local groups to send in comments/filing nothing; the renewal of the water permits have been ignored. The only permit being fought is the air emissions permit - and those emissions are worth cash-money on the commodities trading market as "emission credits" internationally to whomever owns them [I confirmed this with an International Sierra Club expert on such credits, sending them the list of Asarco allowable emissions]. We cannot find out who those credits go to if Asarco loses its permit.

In front of our own eyes, unknown sometimes to us, Asarco's environmental liabilities/costs are being "shed" and the company is emerging as a renewed-entity, with no liability for the toxic waste left unreported in the Paso del Norte region.
[thank you, Susie - I updated it per your email 7/24]

new album

Asarco Flooding 4-Sept-06