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

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Groundwater arsenic throughout ground/surface water at E Paso TX Asarco site


To: Lorinda Gardner [tceq regional director, El Paso TX]
Sb:  Response to Lorinda Gardner's three emails sent 2:36 pm 12-Aug-09

Ms. Gardner, you and Asarco have denied our community group's (SPGEG) request.   We asked for split samples.  We asked for funds to run the tests at a lab of our choice.

You (TCEQ) are denying this request unnecessarily in favor of the industry who the EPA let us know burned the secret toxic waste here for a decade.   I would like an explanation for why the TCEQ invented a road-block.   Your actions throw suspicion on any further testing that the TCEQ may claim to "independently" conduct at Asarco and suggest there may be conflicts-of-interest about coming-clean with the Paso del Norte community.  

The TCEQ and its attorneys are quite aware of the formerly-confidential-for-settlement-purposes-only EPA document to the Federal DOJ (http://archives.newspapertree.com/Asarco/asarco_1998_memo.pdf) in which the EPA said Asarco burned unmanifested toxic wastes for profit for nearly a decade.  Rep. Reyes (Chair of the House Intelligence Committee) stated on record that Asarco paid millions on condition that details of what it had done would not become public.   However, this document is now a public document, and the secret of the terrible chemical contamination of our community and watershed is out.

NOTICE: THIS WILL DIRECT YOUR ATTENTION TO UNITED STATES V. PANARELLA, 277 F.3RD 678 AND UNITED STATES V. GRAY, NO. 95-50533, SEPTEMBER 18, 1996.  IT IS REQUESTED THAT NO PERSON WHO EITHER KNOWS, OR SHOULD KNOW, THAT ANY ASARCO CONTAMINATION OF CORPUS CHRISTI OR PASO DEL NORTE REGION IS BEING CONCEALED PARTICIPATE IN ANY FURTHER ACTION IN THIS MATTER.  THIS REQUEST INCLUDES, BUT IS NOT LIMITED TO THE ATTORNEYS AND OTHER REPRESENTATIVES OF ASARCO.



TCEQ "overlooks" open-records-request about selection of ASARCO trustee

Michael,
This is the first time (and in over 5 years of many PIA requests) that the TCEQ has lost a PIA from me.   You lost it until *after* the bankruptcy hearing.   Now, the TCEQ wants to charge me for copying?   Not only are fees waived (you are incorrect) but I am a member of a long-standing group [...] and the TCEQ could EASILY waive fees because of that if they wanted to.

"In response to another request, all submittals for the trustee position are available for review in the regional office."  Why did it take so long for anyone at TCEQ to tell me that??  I asked not only in June - but my previous trustee PIA was received by the TCEQ in Feb/March!!!!

You can likely understand that I am incredulous at your response.  I appreciate the information you attached and look forward to receiving copies (free) of the remainder. 

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Open Records Request for TCEQ ASARCO El Paso
Date: Mon, 10 Aug 2009 09:01:58 -0500
From: Michael Chamberlain <MICHAMBE@tceq.state.tx.us>

I have been working with our PIA staff in looking into this request. Evidently, it was inadvertently mixed in with another request on receipt and was overlooked.  While you are correct in that untimely action on the part of TCEQ can waive some confidentiality, it does not waive copying charges.  That said, in this instance, you may be able to work out an accommodation with your regional office as to the documents held in that office.
 
In response to another request, all submittals for the trustee position are available for review in the regional office.  However, to keep negotiations with a proposed trustee competitive, these do not include fee information.  If you would like the fee information, I would be happy to forward that to the regional office as well, we just ask that you do not distribute it to keep negotiations competitive.  I have also attached several documents that may be responsive, including ones that would usually be held back as drafts.
 
Please let me know if you have any questions.
 
Michael S. Chamberlain, J.D.
Legal Assistant

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
Office of Legal Services
General Law Division, MC-173
P.O. Box 13087
Austin, Texas  78711-3087
512-239-0478
Fax: 512-239-0606
michambe@tceq.state.tx.us

***CONFIDENTIAL CLIENT/AGENCY COMMUNICATION***
REP Please consider our environment before printing this e-mail or any attachments.

>>> > 7/22/2009 10:08 AM >>>
Thanks, Lorinda,
Would you get the records officer to send me a reply from their office?

What they have done by not replying, and by over-extending the legal deadline, I believe, is make all information available to me even what they might have been withholding (confidential information) about the additional trustees.  Also, it means that all fees are waived.  

Would you send me a copy of the documents if this is correct and the fees are waived?  I don't have money for xeroxing and if I need copies would have to bring a small xerox machine into the office and copy one page at a time. 

thank you,

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [Fwd: Open Records Request for TCEQ ASARCO El Paso]
Date: Wed, 22 Jul 2009 08:04:49 -0500
From: Lorinda Gardner <LGARDNER@tceq.state.tx.us>


 
The records arrived in my office this week.  They are available for viewing.  I will get you an estimate for copies and electronic copies today.
 
Thanks
Lorinda D Gardner
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
El Paso Regional Director
915.834.4951

>>>  7/21/2009 11:34 PM >>>
Hi,
I have not gotten a reply to this public info. request.  Would you send me an estimate of the time it will take you to reply?  It has been quite a while.

thank you,


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Open Records Request for TCEQ ASARCO El Paso
Date: Mon, 22 Jun 2009 23:24:41 -0600


Hello, P.I.A. Officer:

Would you please send me the update for this open-records request below, about the custodial trust information and let me know if the cost exceeds 25$ for this information.  I understand that since I made the original request that the list of possible trustees has expanded from ten to twenty-five.  

Also, please make sure that I am sent updates on this subject --- because I am on the list for all TCEQ updates, and still did not get this updated information or notification it was available to me at the local office ("Under the TX Public Information Act, I would like to be placed on a mailing list for all updates to the upcoming funding and formation of the custodial trust for demolition of the ASARCO El Paso plant, and remediation of the site; and, be able to see any public-information on this from 3-1-08 through the current date through my regional office.")

I am a long-term member of several community groups active on the Asarco issue for years, and respectfully ask that any fees be waived because this is for the public interest and not for personal gain.

thank you,




-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Open Records Request for TCEQ ASARCO El Paso
Date: Sat, 14 Feb 2009 22:38:08 -0700


To:  Public Records Officer

sb:  ASARCO El Paso

A recent news article in El Paso TX stated that:

“ASARCO is working with the state of Texas to fund a custodial trust for the demolition of the plant and remediation of the site. Any custodial trust must be approved by the bankruptcy court that is overseeing ASARCOâ€Ts reorganization effort.

“We will not comment further on any specific details that are part of the bankruptcy process.”


Under the TX Public Information Act, I would like to be placed on a mailing list for all updates to the upcoming funding and formation of the custodial trust for demolition of the ASARCO El Paso plant, and remediation of the site; and, be able to see any public-information on this from 3-1-08 through the current date through my regional office.  

Also, I would like to know why, when I was on a list for notification to changes to ANY Asarco El paso permits, that I have received no notice from the TCEQ that any ASARCO permits have been revoked but read it in the newspaper last week.   I would appreciate an update on the ASARCO water permit and ore handling permit (#4151), in particular.  Are these permits still in effect? 

In addition, I would like a digital (cdrom or dvrom) copy of all of Mr. Brad Wilkinson's emails and correspondence and phone logs in any reference to the ASARCO El Paso toxic-waste pyramid (and its contents) that was recently covered with asphalt after being capped with clay, plastic and more clay.  This was formerly the ASARCO pond that handled overflow from the Asarco plant - including its electric plant; and the same pond that was dredged and its dirt shipped back to Corpus Christi TX for disposal at the TX US Ecology waste site.

Finally,
I would like a digital (cdrom or dvrom) copy of all of Mr. Brad Wilkinson's emails and correspondence and phone logs from 10/1/2006 to current date regarding mention to any of the following nine metals/chemicals in relation to the ASARCO El Paso site (see list below).   These metals/chemicals might be referenced within the email etc. by their chemical symbols and/or chemical names, too.   This is not an idle request- some of these have been reported in huge amounts from the overflow of the ASARCO storm ponds.

If any of the information cannot be released to me in whole or in part because of confidentiality, please list those documents in question.

I ask that you notify me should the charges exceed 25$.
thank you,


List of chemicals (9)
Beryllium
Barium
Cesium
Hafnium
Mercury
Strontium
Thallium
Uranium
Vanadium