"El Paso Times Staff Posted: 09/01/2009 12:00:00 AM MDT --- Former worker sees no Asarco harm
After reading and hearing so much about Asarco, and how it supposedly has caused severe medical conditions for some individuals, I would like to go on record with a different perspective. I began working at Asarco in 1937, interrupted my career to join the Army during World War II, and upon my return gladly resumed my duties there. With combat experience and all, plus almost 42 years of service to Asarco, I can honestly say I have never had health problems that my doctors or I believe were as a direct or indirect result from my time with Asarco. Indeed, as I hopefully turn 91 in a couple of weeks, I can further state with a great deal of certainty that my long, on-site exposure to Asarco had no impact on my physical or mental state during my tenure with it, or during my retirement.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
"Mexico's IPC equity index rose 0.7% to 27,927 as investors hunted for bargains ...shares of Grupo Mexico added [3.5%] to their 14% surge from the previous session after a judge's ruling puts the company closer to regaining control of Asarco LLC, an
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
— Kota Ezawa, Citigroup analyst" [Citigroup is an ASARCO principle bondholder, and Foxconn has become the anchor-maquiladora for the new international city being built within the toxic-shadow of the El Paso ASARCO smelter]
"Hon Hai, the world’s largest contract maker of electronics, gained 6.8 percent to close at NT$118.5 on the Taipei Stock Exchange, the highest level since Aug. 29 last year. The company on Monday posted its first profit increase in five quarters, beating analysts’ estimates. Second-quarter net income rose 27 percent to NT$15.1 billion (US$460 million) from a year earlier."
[both Grupo Mexico and Hon Hai are showing recent record profits. Meanwhile, the community of El Paso Texas gets @52 million to "remediate" 110 years of Asarco's legal and illegal incineration activities -- many of the remaining contamination has NOT BEEN DISCLOSED. The EPA has documentation saying that contamination is in our Rio Grande, the Hueco bolson, our soils and redistributed through our airshed.]
FNS News: Sony Outsources Border Factory [to Foxconn in Tijuana] ASARCO Bondholder Citigroup Inc. analyst comments
Battered by multi-billion dollar losses, Sony Corp. ...announced this week it will sell a 90 percent interest in a [Tijuana/Baja] factory that manufactures LCD television screens to Hon Hai Precision Industry Co.of Taiwan ...[it] will be managed by Hon Hais Foxconn division.
Foxconn, however, is among many electronics manufacturers that routinely outsource jobs to temporary employment agencies which dont pay the full range of benefits....In addition to Tijuana, Foxconn is currently expanding production activities in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua....
Sources: Frontera, September 1, 2009. Los Angeles Times/Associated Press, September 1, 2009. Juarez-El Paso Now, August 2009. Cereal report, October 2007. Frontera NorteSur (FNS): on-line, U.S.-Mexico border news Center for Latin American and Border Studies New Mexico State University Las Cruces,New Mexico"
see also http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/biz/archives/2009/09/02/2003452602
"Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) will buy the stake in a liquid-crystal-display TV unit based in Tijuana, Mexico, and the unit’s manufacturing assets...The sale signals that Sony — which is cutting 16,000 jobs and has shut eight factories to revive its profitability as it heads into its first consecutive annual losses since its listing in 1958 — may eventually stop making TVs, said Kota Ezawa, an analyst at Citigroup Inc in Tokyo."
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gRNiTtgwAEeIASdS5QDK8fH0NlQAD9AERFPO0 "Effort in NM to keep medications out of Rio GrandevBy SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN (AP) Sept 1, 2009 ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico's largest water utility announced a plan Tuesday aimed at educating the public and keeping pharmaceuticals out of one of the West's most important water ways, the Rio Grande. The announcement by the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority follows a recent discovery in the Rio Grande of caffeine, which scientists often look for as a possible signal for the presence of other contaminants.[ i.e. the "canary in the mine"] An environmental group also reported earlier this summer that it found traces of pharmaceuticals in the Rio Grande Valley's irrigation system."
For more, do a search with the blog's search engine.
"Milbank is unquestionably one of the best firms around... standing in the top band nationally with Skadden, Latham, White & Case and Chadbourne. Working out of DC, NY and LA, the firm’s projects team interacts seamlessly with the London, Tokyo Hong Kong and Singapore offices on complex multijurisdictional financings, mainly on the lender side of power, mining, transportation infrastructure and oil and gas work. "
This city is the first of many (the model could be "sold") that could be built in the NAFTA zone from San Diego to Brownsville -- aimed toward the coveted target-market that lies within the 300 mile "zone" along our U.S.A. eastern seaboard.
Carlye owns CSX railroad along the eastern seaboard.
Grupo Mexico is hoping to bid and win on a 50 year contract to run the Port of Punta Colonet and the freight rail to this international city and its port of entry -- the north/south rail has already been arranged. UP Railroad has begun to aquire the land north of this site for its modal container platform and oil storage for its east-west Sunset line --- also within the toxic shadow of the EL Paso Asarco stacks.
- And it is all done by ignoring the illegal and secret ASARCO contamination sealed in the 1998 DOJ settlement with Asarco.
- It is all done by sacrificing the young, the elderly and infirm living in this region to the toxic waste.
- It is done by marginalizing those who seek to speak out, and eliminating their economic-base.
- It is done by sacrificing people living across from the smelter in Mexico and by sacrificing Mexican Americans in this border city.
- It is done by putting profit above health - - and profit above scruples.
- It is done by looking the other way and talking about "risk-assessment" when trying to link 110 years of smelting toxins to the health problems surrounding the stacks-of-asarco
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
| Grupo Mexico Jumps Most in 15 Years After Asarco Unit Ruling |
US Bankruptcy Judge Richard Schmidt yesterday sent his recommendation to a district court judge who will make the final decision on Asarco, more than five ..."
| Grupo Mexico stock surges after Asarco ruling |
... "surged on Tuesday after a US judge recommended that the company be allowed to take control of US copper miner Asarco as it emerges from bankruptcy. ..."
|Bankruptcy Court Recommends Parent Plan in ASARCO LLC Reorganization |
The judge`s recommendation proposes that the federal district court approve the parent companies` plan rather than the one filed by the debtor, ASARCO LLC ..." (google alert)
Monday, August 31, 2009
ASARCO Montana EPA Chief dies from climbing accident Thursday August 20, two weeks after the stacks were demolished
[Montana's State EPA Chief...]"John Wardell arguably changed the landscape across Montana more than any other single person in recent times, and his death last week in a climbing accident is being mourned throughout the Treasure State....Wardell died last Thursday after tumbling down a steep mountainside in the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness Area near Libby....Wardell also presided over most of reclamation work in ... East Helena [Asarco]. Just two weeks ago, he watched as the three Asarco smokestacks in East Helena were blown up...he mused about how he had worked on the East Helena site even before moving to Montana, and how he anticipated signing the final Record of Decision regarding the city's Superfund cleanup work.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
The following is an excerpt of M. Bosque's TX Observer article http://www.voiceyourself.com/site/the_big_issues/article.php?article_id=5908&prev_id=
"....On a hot afternoon in June, the 54-year-old Larrea, one of the world's richest men, took the witness stand at the federal courthouse in Brownsville. It was the first time many of the people inside the courtroom - including attorneys on his payroll - had ever seen the reclusive Mexican billionaire. There are few available photos of Larrea and little public information about his private life. He had fought the federal subpoena compelling him to testify for days. He had finally relented and flown into Brownsville on his private jet from Mexico City earlier that morning. Security guards had banned photographers from the front steps of the courthouse. Shortly before his testimony, Larrea was whisked into the courtroom under the escort of several armed U.S. marshals, who remained on site throughout his five hours on the stand.
Seated in the witness chair, Larrea glowered at the 30 lawyers in the courtroom - representing Asarco, and Grupo Mexico - business reporters, miners, and large, moveable bookcases of evidence that had been wheeled into the room. Larrea had come to defend himself in a lawsuit alleging that he had defrauded Asarco's creditors.
The case in which Larrea was testifying is an outgrowth of the bankruptcy. When Asarco filed for Chapter 11, federal Judge Richard Schmidt removed Asarco from Larrea's control. Bankruptcy experts say this was a highly unusual move. Larrea's Grupo Mexico still technically owns the company, but no longer has any say in operations. The judge appointed a three-member independent board to oversee Asarco (the board remolded the company into an entity called Asarco LLC). The board is supposed to ensure that the company isn't deceiving several hundred creditors with unpaid contracts and asbestos claims.
Controlled by the independent board, Asarco LLC then sued its former bosses at Grupo Mexico. The lawsuit alleges that Larrea had defrauded Asarco's creditors by swiping Asarco's most valuable asset - Peru's largest copper company. The Peruvian mines' stock was worth $8.25 billion at the time the lawsuit was filed in 2007, according to court records, though Larrea transferred the mines from Asarco to a Grupo Mexico subsidiary at a grossly undervalued price, $756 million, according to the lawsuit. The suit accuses Larrea of bilking creditors out of billions of dollars. "The plaintiff contends that the sale, therefore, was not made to improve Asarco's financial position, but was solely a means for Grupo to 'cherry-pick' Asarco's most prized asset before it was lost to creditors or by bankruptcy," the suit alleges. Asarco LLC wants the value of the Peruvian company stocks returned to Asarco LLC creditors.
The lawsuit is a legal sideshow to the larger bankruptcy case. But the outcome of the lawsuit could have a huge impact. Some of the money at stake in the lawsuit over the Peruvian mines could help pay for cleanup of Asarco's environmental pollution. (The U.S. government considers the Peruvian mines a crucial asset in paying to clean up Asarco's many toxic sites.)
On this June day in Brownsville, Larrea had come to tell his side of the story. Federal Judge Andrew Hanen had to silence the courtroom before Larrea could begin his testimony. The CEO wore a conservative, well-tailored, dark blue business suit with a red tie. For such a powerful man, Larrea was surprisingly soft-spoken, answering the lawyers and judge in a hushed and barely audible, but fluent, English. Several times, the judge asked him to speak louder so that people in the back of the courtroom could hear.
Larrea repeatedly denied that his motive for purchasing Asarco was to gain control of the valuable Andean copper mines. The CEO said the decision on the mines was solely the opinion of some Asarco and Grupo Mexico officials. (U.S. marshals ensured that no journalists could get within speaking distance of the billionaire.) In a separate statement from his company, he called Asarco LLC's lawsuit "reprehensible."
His history with Asarco began in 1999, when Larrea took over as CEO of Grupo Mexico shortly after his father's death. One of his first purchases was Asarco, for $2.2 billion. [Purchased after the EPA/DOJ sealed the information about what had happened, and after the El Paso site was shut down "temporarily"] At the time, however, the once-powerful Asarco was hemorrhaging cash.
Initially, Larrea testified in Hanen's courtroom, he believed the company's growing environmental liabilities could be solved through negotiations. [What negotiations were made to get someone on the board of Asarco (Grupo Mexico) to buy it after this devastating environmental catastrophe happened -- i.e., incinerating unmanifested illegal toxic wastes from military & industrial sources for years in the heart of a community??!] "In those days, we were confident we could reach an agreement with all parties on the remediations," Larrea said. "But then the company started losing too much money on legal issues."
By 2002 [Right after the EPA came to El Paso TX to "test" in 2001, but EPA still kept the real contamination SECRET], officials in the U.S. Department of Justice worried that Asarco would sell off its most valuable asset - the Peruvian mines - and would be left with nothing to pay for its numerous environmental cleanups. The department sought an injunction to stop the sale. Negotiations between the Justice Department and Grupo Mexico labored on until the end of 2002.[Just how bad was that contamination??] Finally, Grupo agreed to fund a $100 million trust to help pay Asarco's $1 billion in environmental liabilities at the time. [Remember, there was a change-over from the Clinton Administration to the Bush Administration during this time, and that Carlyle Group now owns 20% of Grupo Mexico]
It was a good deal for Larrea. The Justice Department allowed Larrea to proceed with his sale of the lucrative Peruvian mines in exchange for paying one-tenth of Asarco's environmental cleanup costs...." [which came partially from the ASARCO company burning military wastes illegally along with whatever other unmanifested (i.e. "untracked") wastes were burned during the 1990's].
ASARCO's own Hydrometrics-report-map shows one place at the site where Lead is 19,000 milligrams of lead per kilogram of soil. Near the Historic Smelter cemetery the map shows Lead values that are over 12,000 milligrams of lead per kilogram of soil.
If 1000 milligrams of lead per kilogram of soil is "nearly three times the EPA standard" then what is 12,000 or 19,000?? How about-- 36 and 57 times the EPA standard for residential -- and this dust is picked up in every dust storm and distributed around the City...
And what about Polonium (Radioactive Lead?). It is *very* commonly found around smelters and we have never been told what its levels are, here.