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Saturday, October 27, 2007


"Test wells drilled into the intermediate aquifer underneath the [E. Helena MT] Asarco smelting property in 2001 revealed arsenic present at 31 to 34 parts per million (i.e. 34 ppm in the water) — more than 3,000 times the federal standards for drinking water."
Asarco to present public updates (article from E. Helena MT Asarco plant)

Arsenic in Canal-water above the El Paso Water Utilities' (EPWU) Canal-street treatment plant near Asarco El Paso was 37 ppm, according to TCEQ (TNRCC) samples from '95. (DAMAGE CASES AND ENVIRONMENTAL RELEASES FROM MINES AND MINERAL PROCESSING SITES 1997 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, page 215)

EPA in 1997 reports on TCEQ 1995 EL PASO ASARCO WATER CONTAMINATION: arsenic concentrations in ground water seeping into the canal,from ASARCO property were 37 mg/l

"The American Canal, which originates near the facility, also is nearby. The canal distributes water
diverted from the river to downstream users, including El Paso Water Utilities, via a system of canals and
ditches. For approximately 1,100 feet, the canal is adjacent to ASARCO's main plant. Downstream from the
ASARCO plant the canal is referred to as the Franklin Canal. El Paso's public drinking water is withdrawn from
the Franklin Canal for treatment prior to distribution
. The withdrawal point from the canal is approximately two
miles from the dam on the river that diverts water into the canal. On December 4, 1995, the Texas Natural
Resources Conservation Commission (TNRCC) conducted a case development inspection of the American
Canal in the immediate vicinity of ASARCO's El Paso Plant. TNRCC collected ground water and sediment
samples from three points in the canal, in which arsenic concentrations in ground water seeping into the canal
from ASARCO property were 37 mg/l [i.e. 37 ppm],
which is above drinking water standards - sediment in the canal had
arsenic concentrations of 13 parts per million (ppm).

Type of Impact/Media Affected: TNRCC personnel have concluded that the American Canal was affected
by arsenic contamination from ground water seeping into the canal."
“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” - Orwell

El Paso Texas showed one of the highest Beta Radiation levels in the nation winter of 1998

"...during particular months El Paso sometimes had the highest reading or one of the highest readings of Beta-particle radiation for the field analysis performed approximately five hours after sample collection.  The data generated after those same samples are taken back to the laboratory for analysis generally show El Paso with average Beta readings, or somewhat above national average..."

- George Brozowski EPA Region 6 Radiation Health Physicist/EPA Region 6
technical contact for RadNet

"... The system is not designed to perform source apportionment nor to do detailed studies in each location"

(click on text to read full-size-text)

Asarco page for Environmental Mgt. Practices for the closed sites (i.e. El Paso)

2005 old Newspapertree links to Asarco Filings and info.

Newspaper Tree presents a look back at filings in the case:

1. Original Petition, filed by Plaintiff (ASARCO INCORPORATED)

2. Original Answer of Defendant (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, or "TCEQ")

3. Plaintiff's Initial Brief (Part one)

4. Plaintiff's Initial Brief (Part two)

5. Plaintiff's Initial Brief (Part three)

6. Brief of the City of El Paso, Intervenor (filed January 10, 2005)

7. Amicus Curiae Brief of the Latina/o Law Students Association, at the University of Wisconsin Law School

8. TCEQ Brief (Part One)

9. TCEQ Brief (Part Two)

10. The City of El Paso's Intervenor Brief

11. ASARCO Reply Brief (Part One)

12. ASARCO Reply Brief (Part Two)

13. ASARCO's Amended Original Petition

14. ASARCO's Motion to Strike the Amicus Curiae of the Latina/o Law Students Association

15. The Latina/o Law Students Association's Response to [ASARCO's] Motion to Strike Amicus Curiae Brief

16. The Court's Order of March 9, 2005

* * *

Previous ASARCO-related articles from NPT:

1. City Contract with Baron & Budd, P.C. (June 27, 2005)

2. Getting to the Bottom of the Superfund (June 13, 2005)

3. Two-fifths of a Paving Contract (May 28, 2005)

4. Sunset Heights ASARCO Controversy (May 12, 2005)

5. Demystifying the Open Records Process (April 27, 2005)

6. City Seeks to Enforce 1999 Asarco Penalty (March 30, 2005)

7. ASARCO Incorporated (ASARCO) v. Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) (March 15, 2005)

8. Briefs on ASARCO Case (February 14, 2005)

9. Background on ASARCO Case (February 1, 2005)

10. Notes on SOAH Preliminary Hearing (January 27, 2005)

11. Birch & Becker, LLP (January 17, 2005)

12. Clean up or Cover up? (Reprinted from the Texas Observer) (November 1, 2004)

* * *

Industry/Government/Community Links:

1. ASARCO, Inc. (El Paso)

2. EPA in El Paso

3. Texas Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program

4. Get the Lead Out Coalition

5. El Paso Acorn

6. Sierra Club (El Paso Regional Group)

Health/Studies Links:

1. ATSDR study showing MS/lead risk for EP

2. SCERP Study

3. Encuentros Binational Community Lead Project

* * *
from July 11, 2005 newspapertree article

Updated federal report finds greater hazard in arsenic

"Sat 27 Oct 2007 The Baltimore Sun
Closer look for cancer near park: Updated federal report finds greater hazard in arsenic from closed plant
By Tom Pelton
Oct. 27--Baltimore's health commissioner plans to study cancer deaths in the neighborhood around South Baltimore's Swann Park in light of a new federal finding that arsenic in the soil poses a greater health risk than previously reported.

The U.S. Department of Health said in June that there was "no public health hazard" to children who have played in Swann Park, unless they ate a tablespoon or more of dirt. But the federal agency revised that assessment yesterday, saying that "recent and historic exposure to Swann Park soil is considered a public health hazard."

"This means that there is a low but potentially real increase in cancer risk for people who have a significant exposure over years to the park," said the city's health commissioner, Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein. "It justifies why we closed the park and why we need to clean it up."

The city closed the park in April after tests showed that its soil has high levels of arsenic, a known cancer-causing agent, from dust that blew from an adjacent Allied Chemical Co. pesticide factory that closed in 1976.

An EPA-funded study done in the 1970s by a Johns Hopkins scientist found lung cancer deaths more than three times the normal rate in the neighborhood around Swann Park.
The deaths were linked to arsenic dust from the factory next to the park and from train cars carrying the carcinogen.

But until yesterday, city and federal health officials said there was almost no risk to the public from arsenic left in the soil after the factory shut down in 1976.

Now, federal officials are saying that children, coaches and grounds workers who used the park at least 182 days a year might have an increased cancer risk from inhaling dirt particles and touching their mouths after getting their hands grubby.


On Oct. 6, the city and Honeywell submitted a plan to the Maryland Department of the Environment to remove 3,200 cubic yards of contaminated dirt at the park, then cover the site with two feet of clean soil. Under the plan, the park would reopen in 2008......,0,2067591.story"

from arsenic newsletter...

Friday, October 26, 2007

EMERGENCY NOTICE OF ASARCO BANKRUPTCY FRAUD sent by SPGEG to the US Trustee on October 16, 2007 (part 2)

EMERGENCY NOTICE OF ASARCO BANKRUPTCY FRAUD sent by SPGEG to the US Trustee on October 16, 2007 (part 1)

(click on image to read full-page)

Poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox 1915


To sit in silence when we should protest
Makes cowards out of men. The human race
Has climbed on protest. Had no voice been raised
Against injustice, ignorance and lust
The Inquisition yet would serve the law
And guillotines decide our least disputes.
The few who dare must speak and speak again
To right the wrongs of many. Speech, thank God,
No vested power in this great day and land
Can gag or throttle; Press and voice may cry
Loud disapproval of existing ills,
May criticise oppression and condemn
The lawlessness of wealth-protecting laws
That let the children and child-bearers toil
To purchase ease for idle millionaires,
Therefore do I protest against the boast
Of independence in this mighty land.
Call no chain strong which holds one rusted link,
Call no land free that holds one fettered slave
Until the manacled, slim wrists of babes
Are loosed to toss in childish sport and glee,
Until the Mother bears no burden save
The precious one beneath her heart; until
God's soil is rescued from the clutch of greed
And given back to labour, let no man
Call this the Land of Freedom."

Monday, October 22, 2007

The New Mexico State University College of Engineering received a gift of $1.5 million to establish the Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Water Quality Laboratory. The gift was made by the Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Foundation.

Can anyone say, "Conflict ... of... Interest"?  [see Biological Sciences for Sophomores Dragonfly Book, the opening chapters for a good explanation of how to look for conflict of interest in scientific research ...]

"NMSU receives $1.5M for water quality lab
By New Mexico State University
Las Cruces Sun-News
Article Launched:10/22/2007 12:00:00 AM MDT

The New Mexico State University College of Engineering received a gift of $1.5 million to establish the Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Water Quality Laboratory. The gift was made by the Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Foundation.[Freeport-McMorRan is the company that purchased Phelps-Dodge, which ran smelters in and near El Paso during the years that Asarco was found to be illegally burning toxic waste.  Information released by FOIA inquiry states that Asarco contaminated the river and aquifer, i.e. the water.  Asking the industry to set up a water quality lab might be like asking a fox to guard a henhouse; or (in the words of a friend), "handing a burglar the keys to your home". ]

"We are very pleased to be a partner with NMSU to ensure that the academic and research needs of the state and region are met in an effective manner," said John Galassini, senior vice president, Freeport-McMoRan Americas. "The establishment of this new water quality lab represents new, cutting-edge research capability that does not currently exist within the state or the region. The lab will also be an important addition to the campuswide natural resources research cluster initiative, which supports the development and implementation of strategies that build sustainable water, energy and land resources." "

[??seems like the industry will run out of excuses for not telling us what Asarco toxic-waste-handling/burning released into our water??]

Bankruptcy court approves raise for Asarco CEO

"Bloomberg News Tucson, Arizona | Published: 10.22.2007 A judge ruled that Tucson-based copper producer Asarco LLC can raise the salary of CEO Joseph Lapinsky from $425,000 to $500,000, pay him an $85,000 bonus, and make him eligible for another performance bonus for as much as 75 percent of his salary payable at the discretion of the board, Bloomberg News reported...."