"THE ONLY THING NECESSARY FOR THE TRIUMPH OF EVIL IS FOR GOOD MEN TO DO NOTHING"
--Burke

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Federal Dept. of Justice asking for public comments regarding ASARCO Hayden operation ...

sb:  Comments:  proposed Settlement Agreement regarding the Asarco Hayden Plant Site in Hayden, Arizona
    Notice of Proposed Administrative Settlement Agreement and Order ...

The Asarco DOJ "settlement agreement" notice (see link above) says that the notice is available on the USDOJ consent decrees site.

If the new Administration in the DOJ wants to instill confidence and credibility to the Federal Dept. of Justice then please begin by being forthright and honest with our community about what chemicals have been left in our Paso del Norte community from ASARCO's years of secret illegal waste-burning-for-profit.

We in El Paso Texas were denied access or knowledge of the "confidential-for-settlement-purposes" EPA document to the DOJ written in 1998 until an honest DOJ person admitted it was public record and released it in 2006 to me.  Before that, only a "Consent decree" was shown to our community -- and the consent decree did not tell us what had happened (Rep. Reyes said that ASARCO paid millions on the condition that details of its activities would not become public).

We are wondering exactly how many of these secret consent decrees have been made about Asarco.  How do we know that the notice-of-proposed-admin.-settlement-agreement-and-order (below) for Asarco Hayden does not have such a secret component?   How can we know for sure that none of the unmanifested/secret toxic wastes that the EPA told the DOJ ASARCO El Paso (and E. Helena MT) had burned for years, for $$$, never went to Hayden?

Right now the Federal Department of Justice trustee is overseeing the Asarco Bankruptcy Court in Corpus Christi and yet NONE OF THIS SECRET/UNMANIFESTED WASTE HAS BEEN DISCUSSED.   WHY NOT??   The DOJ, EPA and TCEQ held a public meeting in El Paso recently about ASARCO and instead of taking public comments directly, those agencies hired an Attorney from Bethesda MD to intercede for them with the public -- to the point that the DOJ people in attendance did not want to hand over their business cards but asked the moderator to hand out his instead.

It is becoming clear that someone in the Department of Justice did their job to protect us when made sure that the formerly-confidential EPA/DOJ Asarco document became public -- but that others in our Dept. of Justice are not ensuring that this now-public document is heard.   The Asarco Corpus Christi bankruptcy court should be looking at the secret-illegal toxic wastes (that the EPA told the DOJ were unmanifested, secret, and burned for years here for money.)

What ARE these wastes?   What chemicals have been left in our community from this secret illegal action?  

Many groups want to know the answer to this:  

  • Sunland Park wants an answer (and has never gotten an answer in two years from NM Environmental Secretary Ron Curry, who now being considered -- in spite of this -- as a possible candidate for EPA Region 6 Administrator)
  • The JAC wants an answer (Joint Air-Advisory Committee for the bi-national La Paz Accord) and passed an international resolution
  • Members of Sierra Club -- national, regional and local want an answer
  • Acorn through the former workers at Asarco El Paso, want an answer
  • Get the Lead Out, wants an answer
We have not been given an answer to the question of "What ARE these wastes  - what chemicals have been left in our community from this secret illegal action?"

The entire consent-decree process, in my lay opinion, has become suspect from the use of this "secret agreement" between the DOJ and Asarco, which began an eight year environmental/health sacrifice of the Paso del Norte community. 

If the new Administration in the DOJ wants to instill confidence and credibility to the Federal Dept. of Justice then please begin by being forthright and honest with our community about
what chemicals have been left in our community from ASARCO's years of secret illegal waste-burning-for-profit.


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