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Friday, September 21, 2007

Faces against Asarco at Executive Center

"(5.30pm Sunday)

September 21, 2007

The cities of El Paso, Ciudad Juarez and Sunland Park are trying to block the reopening of a massive copper smelter in the heart of town. It’s been mothballed since 1999, but the current owners are trying to get permission from the state of Texas to start up again. I wasn’t here at the time, but apparently when it was open, the pollution was pretty bad on the west side and in Anapra. In any event, this 19th century smelter would provide no significant economic benefit and would run counter to all the recent positive developments in the city.

This is a genius idea from Robert Ardovino. It looks like there’ll be thousands of people in front of Asarco for a photo which will be sent up to Rick Perry and co., posted on billboards in Austin etc. They ask that we show up at 5.30 and wear a white shirt. The picture will be taken at 6pm

Here’s the flyer: "

This Sunday Sept.-23'rd 5PM Executive Drive Wear White shirt

click on image to magnify it for reading!!

Arizona Governor's statement regarding Hayden and Asarco:

"I am asking that the EPA delay final decision on listing until March 31, 2008.  This would provide ample time for the EPA, in close coordination with ADEQ, to enter an agreement with ASARCO to conduct remedial actions..."

Asarco loses approval to reimburse union

Asarco loses approval to reimburse union

Copper company earlier permitted to pay another $1 million for union's legal expenses.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

One of the USA Founding Fathers: John Quincy Adams' quote

" will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve
your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it."

Leon Metz article in El Paso Times

"But talking to Asarco supervisors is like talking to a body in the company cemetery. They all promise to look at the record ... and get back to me.  Well, maybe their phones aren't working."
- Leon Metz

Leon Metz hit it exactly.  They are like bodies in the Smelter Cemetery.  And trying to get real information is like talking to dropped-call.

"They sell the righteous for silver,...

... and the needy for a pair of sandals – they trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth, and push the afflicted out of the way. Amos 2:6b"

"Ah you who make iniquitous decrees, who write oppressive statues, to turn aside the needy from justice and to rob the poor of my people of their right. Isaiah 10:1-2a"

Hear this, you that trample on the needy, and bring to ruin the poor of the land. Amos 8:4"

Come now, you rich people, weep and wail for the miseries that are coming to you. Your riches have rotted and your clothes are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you, and it will eat your flesh like fire . James 5:1-3a"

...You see, slavery still exists. It is alive and well, it’s just that we’ve pushed it far enough out of sight so that we don’t have to confront it daily. But, have no doubt about it, our t-shirts, dinner plates, and tooth brushes – delivered by the container-full – our cheap gold necklaces and wedding bands, are all made by slaves while the earth lies dying. Our job, as those in the north and the west, is to wake up and to resist, to create links of love and friendship with others in far corners, all working to preserve the earth, her creatures, and the fragile communities that have built networks of dependence on one another and on right living.

Our goal as Christians must be to stand as witnesses to what the God of Life came to earth to teach us: to sacrifice wealth and comfort, and to build real alternatives to exploitation with communities like Sipakapa. It is our job to say that what is being done in the name of “Canadians” is not okay by us. Martin and his cows are more important than Mr. Telfer and his share holders. Corn is worth more than silver. Life is worth more than gold.

"Listen! The wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the righteous one, who does not resist you. James 5:4-6

The Reverend Mother Emilie Smith is an Anglo-Catholic priest at the parish of St. James in Vancouver’s downtown eastside. Her most scary monster is greed."

20070920 Asarco Asks Bankruptcy Court to Dismiss $68 Million Claim Filed by State of Texas

"From EnergyLaw360

By Christine Caulfield ,

Wednesday, Sep 19, 2007 --- Bankrupt copper mining company Asarco LLC has urged a bankruptcy court to quash a $68 million claim by Texas officials for environmental damage to the state's coast, a claim it argues was filed too late.

In an objection lodged with the court on Friday, Asarco said the damage claim filed in July 2006 by the Texas attorney general on behalf of the state's natural resource trustees was barred by the statute of limitations.  The claim, just one of scores against the bankrupt copper producer for environmental damage, relates to the company's Corpus Christi facility, which processed mineral ore in the production of zinc.

The Tucson, Ariz.-based company, which no longer operates the facility, argues the state was aware of the release of toxins from the site more than three years before making a claim to the court.  Claims under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, otherwise known as Superfund, have a three-year statute of limitations, and that statute begins to run on discovery of a possible claim, Asarco told Judge Richard Schmidt. [our "discovery" from 7/2006 is now over 1 year old]

“The Trustees had knowledge of the alleged release and losses well before July 14, 2003, three years prior to filing a claim,” the company said.  The state's knowledge was outlined in the attorney general's own proof of claim and expert report, Asarco told the court, both of which contained surveys, notices, memoranda and orders from the state warning the site was releasing dangerous metals into the Corpus Christi harbor and bay.

“It is undisputed that the state possessed knowledge of the alleged loss and its connection the alleged releases of hazardous substances at the site long before 2003,” said Asarco.

Even assuming the court were to rule that the claim was not time-barred, all portions of the state's claim relating to damage that occurred before the December 1980 effected date of Superfund were barred, the company added.  Last month, Judge Schmidt approved a $31 million settlement between Asarco and the federal government over cleanup at its hazardous California Gulch smelter site in Leadville, Colorado.

The settlement resolved a $200 million lawsuit brought by U.S. environment officials and the state of Colorado more than 20 years ago. The site, which encompasses the entire town of Leadville and an 11-mile stretch of the Arkansas River, was added to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's national priority list as a hazardous wasteland in 1983.  In approving the settlement, Judge Schmidt ignored the protests of Asarco's parent company, Asarco Inc., which earlier this month asked the court for an order forcing the company to seek its consent before entering into settlements “over the parent's strong protest.”

The company had slammed Asarco's haste in settling the California Gulch claims, saying the debtors had entered into an agreement despite expert analysis showing the claims were highly inflated.

“Alarmingly, the California Gulch settlement may be just the first of many settlement seeking to resolve the environmental claims that are the subject of the ongoing estimation proceeding and that are asserted in the aggregate amount of over $6.77 billion,” said the company, which lost power over Asarco in December 2005, when the court approved a corporate governance stipulation which shook up the board of directors and effectively excluded it from participation in governance matters.

Asarco, which has been active in mining, smelting and refining for over a century, still faces environmental claims at nearly 100 other sites. Those claims have been asserted by the federal government, state governments, Indian tribes and private parties.  The company also faces more than 95,000 asbestos-related personal injury claims, court documents have revealed, with the total value of all claims estimated to be potentially as high as $25 billion.  Asarco filed for Chapter 11 protection on Aug. 9, 2005, listing assets and liabilities in excess of $100 million."

El Paso not listed in Superfund ASARCO sites

ASARCO's name is attached to 19 Superfund sites around the U.S. They are:

  1. The Interstate Lead Company facility in Alabama;
  2. Vasquez Boulevard and I-70 in Colorado;
  3. Lowry Landfill in Colorado;
  4. California Gultch mine and river systems in Colorado;
  5. Summitville Mine in Colorado;
  6. Globe Plant in Colorado;
  7. Bunker Hill Mining in the Coeur d'Alene River Basin in Idaho;
  8. Circle Smelting Corporation in Illinois;
  9. NL Industries/Taracorp lead smelter in Illinois;
  10. Cherokee County lead and zinc mine and surrounding area in Kansas;
  11. Oronogo-Duenweg mining belt in Missouri;
  12. East Helena smelter and surrounding residences in Montana;
  13. Kin-Buc Landfill in New Jersey;
  14. Tar Creek (Ottawa County) iron and zinc operations and surrounding residences in Oklahoma;
  15. Tonolli Corporation smelter in Pennsylvania;
  16. Ross Metals smelter and surface water in Tennessee;
  17. Murray smelter in Utah;
  18. Richardson Flat tailings in Utah;
  19. Commencement Bay, Near Shore/Tide Flats smelter, groundwater, and residences in Tacoma and Ruston, Washington.
  20. Former location of South side Park in Chicago, old home of the Chicago White Sox

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Check out this stack photo

Blood lead levels were inversely related to the distance to the smelter.


"We carried out an assessment of the residual risk of lead poisoning in the area close to the ASARCO smelting plant in Anapra where remediation occurred in 1973, and determined major predictors of blood lead levels in mothers and children. ...."

"Their blood lead levels ranged from 3.5 - 23.6 μg/dL with an arithmetic mean of 7.35 μg/dL (s ± 3.50), and a percentage of 30% = 10 μg/dL. Blood lead levels were inversely related to the distance to the smelter.

Steelworker Attorneys get a piece of the Asarco pie

The slicing up of the Asarco Pie continues by attorneys, banks, companies... and all at the expense of the people living around the smelter(s) in still-hidden chemical contamination from the illegal toxic waste burning.   What are the chemicals and metals contaminating us?  We aren't being told, because all complete metals analyses, all complete raw data, all complete chemical reports are missing.

It is hardly "Green" to sacrifice the Paso del Norte Region to toxic-waste so that carpetbaggers can make a profit on the South -- in this case, slicing up the Asarco company to "get away" with the profitable sections while dumping/not-disclosing the environmental liabilities.   This isn't the Civil War days anymore or the days of Railroad Robber barons (although you've got to admit it is very strange that this all happens within Railroad District 8, headquartered in Midland, TX).   We have an educated community who realizes that they are being flim-flammed by the environmental agencies, by Asarco, by the very officials put in place to protect them.  And it is hitting our elderly, our ill, our unborn and our children the hardest - and the families' hearts are torn apart watching their loved ones slowly die.  The innocent are sacrificed as surely as if we were in a Mel Gibson Mayan-movie, with our hearts ripped out to ensure a plentiful harvest.

"Tucson-based Asarco LLC was authorized by the bankruptcy court to pay another $1 million to the United Steelworkers, mostly to reimburse them for attorneys' fees spent in litigation with Asarco's nominal parent, Grupo Mexico SA de CV.   The parent unsuccessfully opposed the request. Last year the bankruptcy court allowed Asarco to reimburse the union for $500,000 in expenses."

Sunday, September 16, 2007

EPA "Green Group" fast-track air permitting.... approval to pollute in the guise of greening America

From "high desert reports" blog

"Wednesday, August 29, 2007
EPA's "flexible" air permits

I just received a press release from the EPA, which is proposing changes to its air quality permitting rules -- which would include operating permits and New Source Review programs. According to the press release, the agency is doing this to "encourage pollution prevention; provide increased flexibility, enable industrial facilities to make rapid changes to respond to market demands; save resources for state permitting authorities, and improve public information."
EPA will accept comment on this proposed rule for 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register.

More about the proposal:

Information about EPA's New Source Review program:  "

From the EPA site: [Remember that ASARCO EL PASO said it was using BACT in 1992 when it installed CONTOP -- and then it proceeded to secretly handle and burn toxic waste]

"The proposed revisions to EPA’s NSR program describe how industrial facilities would obtain advance approvals of certain future changes under major NSR through the use of a new permit option called a “Green Group.”  A Green Group consists of a collection of emissions points ducted to a common, high performing air pollution control device.  This emissions control device must meet “best available control technology” (BACT) or “lowest achievable emission rate” (LAER), as applicable. The total annual emissions from all the new and existing emissions activities included in the Green Group are restricted to a level determined to be protective of the applicable national ambient air quality standards and the increments established to protect visibility and other air quality values.  The state, tribal or local permitting authority would retain the ability to determine if the Green Group permitting approach would be appropriate in a particular situation.

Sources may make changes within the scope of a Green Group approval without further review or approval by the permitting authority. To establish a Green Group, a source must go through the major NSR permitting process and obtain a permit which would limit future emissions growth over a 10-year period."