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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Someone is making money... while the children of the Paso del Norte pay the costs of the Toxic pollution through Medicaid

Who is making the money?   The same people who don't want the "asarco secret document" known?  The people who want to develop the Asarco El Paso site without declaring the illegal and secret toxic waste ?   Grupo Mexico and Asarco must just love it when we ignore the secret illegal toxic waste.  

A retired ASARCO supervisor told me that his only regret was watching the children playing outside in the dirt in the yards near the Asarco site and his fears for their health.

"Vendata makes fresh bid for ASARCO"
"BY DAVID MCLAUGHLIN       Vedanta Resources PLC made a renewed bid to buy Asarco LLC out of bankruptcy, raising its offer to $2.56 billion ....Asarco said in court documents filed Thursday night that India-based Vedanta has agreed to pay $2.56 billion in cash to take Asarco out of bankruptcy, up from an earlier offer of about $2.29 billion.   The new offer comes after a Texas judge recommended last week that Vedanta's offer should be rejected and that Asarco's assets should go to its parent, Grupo Mexico...."

Friday, September 11, 2009

Child born with missing bones, facial deformities and heart defect

ASARCO is paying just $52 million to "clean up" a secret-toxic-waste-site on the West side of El Paso.  To put that amount of money into perspective, that amount could only pay for medical care for ten children with the birth/heart -defects like what Danika has suffered -- and, only for the first few years of their lives.

[Westside El Paso] "....Lopez's daughter Danika was born in February 2006 with myriad health problems. She has Goldenhar syndrome, a congenital condition that causes facial deformities and also affected her heart. She has lung problems and was born without several body parts, including fingers, an ear and the bones of one forearm.

Danika spent the first 80 days of her life in a hospital, mostly in intensive care. Her parents' insurance covered her medical costs for a while, but it was maxed out at $5 million when she was about 2...."

" "We've also seen a lot of what is known as 'Goldenhar Syndrome,' that is where there is a missing left eye and left ear. It's very strange. A lot of people believe this has something to do with the radiological problem related to the use [in IRAQ] of depleted uranium [a radioactive isotope].""

ASARCO El Paso was shut down in February of 1999 after the EPA registered the highest Beta-radiation levels in the USA in El Paso in 1998 (we are assured that these readings mean nothing by the EPA, and that we are safe).  Four months before the shut-down the TCEQ decided to deny the nuclear-dump-license for the Sierra Blanca site just about 80 miles from El Paso, after press/media events reached international levels.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Paso del Norte: paying Asarco clean-up dollars out of your pocket and mine...

"On May 27, 2004 the El Paso Water Utilities Public Service Board (PSB) promised DOD that PSB would build the world's largest inland desalination plant on Fort Bliss property to allow Fort Bliss to keep its existing wells in reserve as a strategic buffer"

AND ALL THAT TIME THE FEDERAL DEPT. OF JUSTICE, THE EPA, THE TCEQ and ASARCO KNEW THAT ASARCO HAD CONTAMINATED THE HUECO BOLSON AND THE RIO GRANDE; and, that ASARCO had signed onto a 1998 confidential settlement admitting it had burned secret illegal (and unknown) toxic wastes for profit for years.  In exchange, Rep. Reyes later said, Asarco paid millions on condition that the details of what it had done would never be revealed to the community.

Some of that secret waste was military waste; and, now the desal plant that would remove 99% of the contaminants from the Hueco-Bolson-water was being built -- and, the contaminants piped over 20 miles N.E. to deep-well-injection sites on Fort Bliss property.

What exactly did Asarco burn?  And what exactly did they contaminate the Hueco Bolson with and in what amounts?  Why were we never told? 
And now, to add insult to injury, the Taxpayer will foot the bill to remove ASARCO toxic wastes from the Hueco Bolson water? (Asarco had dumped chemicals offsite to the sewage plant(s) for years, and then the water was treated as purple-pipe water to re-inject into the Hueco Bolson aquifer to replenish it.)

May 13, 2005....the PSB General Manager signed an agreement to build the desalination plant on Fort Bliss property.(3) The agreement guaranteed PSB nothing in return."... "On Aug. 18, 2009, PSB announced plans to execute an easement, water supply contract (4) and water purchase contract (5) with Fort Bliss. If Fort Bliss does not pay its fair share of costs, El Paso citizens will be forced to make up the difference. The easement, water supply contract and water purchase contract could cost El Paso citizens as much as $930 million."

ASARCO EL PASO will pay only 52 million dollars to the community for clean-up of its site, under the Corpus Christi Bankruptcy court that is ignoring the liabilities from ASARCO EL PASO's illegal activities (the DOJ Bankruptcy Trustee and the Court are ignoring that the DOJ made PUBLIC the 1998 EPA-DOJ Asarco confidential-for-settlement-purposes-only-document).

"building a border fence is to build an economic platform" and the folks wanting this to happen have been planning for this "model" for years

This model is dependent upon government continuing to hide ASARCO's toxic-waste.    

Quote (see below):  "The option to building a border fence is to build an economic platform which both creates economic and national security in urban cities..."

"But first we start with a question: What is the option to not building the exiting fence? Or is there another option? would answer to this question with the following.

The option to building a border fence is to build an economic platform which both creates economic and national security in urban cities. When the levee is not proving flood protection, then it should also be used in an economic fashion. As part of the re-construction of the levee, which would mean a small height increase and creating a usable deck upon which it will become the foundation for economic development between El Paso and Cd. Juarez for all the approximately 20 miles of border they share.

Investment in this new levee with a deck, connections to this deck, development and / or re-development along these connections, personal ports of entry using this new deck are parts of what will become the new paradigm of securing our border urban cities [i.e "plural"] and creating economic activity to sustain this security.

This is how we answer the question above.

What about Asarco?

Well it is near this three state, two nation focal point where this new vision of the border can begin. Asarco, its land near the river and across the freeway towards Executive drive and bounded by UTEP as well, just happens to be between that area.

Monday, September 7, 2009

puerto de guaymas and Arizona rail route : What you aren't being told in the Paso del Norte

The Ferromex line [yellow] travels to Nogales and Naco. The dark blue line is the UP Railroad (east-west) Sunset Line. UP Railroad is the one that presently goes through the ASARCO contaminated site in El Paso Texas, and that uses crushed slag for ballast on its rails as far away as at least Alpine. UP is presently continuing on its plans for a fuel tank farm and intermodal loading/offloading ramp at the Santa Teresa Airport -- within the 15 mile zone of contamination from the ASARCO stacks....

"It was published in the Official Newspaper of the federation, the Rules of General Character in the matter of Foreign trade 2009, where the multimodal runner Guaymas-Mexicali gets up itself officially. Day 29 of April of this year, left published in the Official Newspaper of the federation, the Rules of General Character in the matter of Foreign trade 2009, where the multimodal runner Guaymas-Mexicali within the Agreement of Agreement for the Development of Multimodal Runners of the country gets up itself officially, supported in article 131 of the Customs Law, will be able to be promoted the international transit by railroad between the customs of Guaymas and running present Mexicali.El multimodal Guaymas-Arizona during the period of January-December of the 2008 registered a movement of 220.000 tons of merchandise in traffic of international transit, which is equivalent to a 206% of increase with respect to previous the immediate year."
(babelfish online translation) (see map above, from this weblink)

"In late 2008, the Puerto de Guaymas announced its plan to construct a new container terminal with capacity to handle more than 100 thousand container a year. The terminal will focus on traffic with the US’s southwestern markets and regional markets in Mexico."

Arcelor Mittal (Mexico plant) is providing the steel. This is the company that bought the Border Steel tiny plant just north of El Paso TX, about 30 miles away -- which may still put it in the contamination zone from Asarco.

"ARCELOR MITTAL starts operations on Puerto de Guaymas "

"Starting from the 7:00 hrs. of the day Monday 17 of November beginning the shipment of approximately 60 thousand tons of iron mineral for el Puerto de Guyamas, starting the beginning of operations of the new terminal of the company hurries this way number 1 in the world, Arcelor Mittal whose investment in the port enclosure of Guaymas reaches the 18 million dollars since in the construction of an installation of first level is totally automated as for reception and material shipment to ship cellar what will be able to assist crafts in so single three days of service..."

Arcelor Mittal is the company that bought the tiny "Border Steel" plant just up Inter-State Highway I10 from El Paso, TX.  Arcelor Mittal has a bad environmental-reputation.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

"The Perfect Storm at the NAFTA Institute"

"06/13/2009 04:09 pm"

"There’s a perfect storm brewing in and around southern Dona Ana County.

While much of the storm is off in the future, when combined with current conditions it will permanently transform Dona Ana County’s economy.  

Specifically I’m talking about the following:

  • The Santa Teresa International Border Crossing
  • The Dona Ana County International Airport
  • Access to I-10 and I-25
  • The relocation and expansion of Union Pacific’s railroad station
  • What will be one of the largest electronic manufacturing campuses in the world [FOXCONN]
  • And a new port in northern Baja

Considering the dramatic affect that this list will have on our future, we need to be very aware of what is currently happening and where we are going.

Punta Colonet

Located in northern Baja, this new port will become to Mexico what the New York and New Jersey port is to the United States.  In other words, this port will be massive.[Grupo Mexico is bidding on the 50 year contract to run the port and run the rail to Santa Teresa]

While it may seem logical that a port of this size would look to enter the U.S. at the closest international border crossing, southern California’s congestion and the strategic location of Santa Teresa may make it more efficient right here.   

So what do they see in southern Dona Ana County?

Union Pacific

Union Pacific is relocating its fueling station out of downtown El Paso and into Santa Teresa with plans on expanding into a block swap and inter-modal station [the station's planning is done, the BLM land swap with N.M. is done, and the next step is for N.M. to "auction the land" off (i.e. to U.P.)]

Why does this matter?  It matters because it will make railroad trade coming out of this area more efficient.  The railroad will someday be able to avoid both downtown El Paso and downtown Juarez, and the open land offers room for growth and minimal utility conflicts.

Our location is currently the northern end of the Sunset Line which starts in San Diego.  The route then opens up to the north, east and southeast.  When you factor in the interstates, the international airport and the border into the equation, Santa Teresa could become one of the most efficient locations to start your trade in the United States.


The world’s largest manufacturer of electronics sees the potential for profit here.

In fact, they have invested in 240 hectors west of Juarez where they’re planning a manufacturing campus complete with dormitories, restaurants and recreation areas.  They are planning to employ 10k employees in the next 2 years, and word on the street is they are looking to employ 30k in the long run.  By the end of their first year they will already employ over 5k.

Where are we going?

When you combine the expansions of these companies into Dona Ana County with the airport, the border crossing, and the interstates you get something that exists nowhere else in the United States or Mexico.  It truly is the perfect storm for the future of U.S./Mexico trade. [and it is being built within the 15 mile toxic-zone of ASARCO's stacks, without *anyone* declaring what the decade of illegal secret military/industrial waste-burning left in the Paso del Norte...and, without any effort to clean up dioxins, pcb's, polonium (radioactive lead), actinides (radioactive), etc.]

As manufactures look for the most efficient place to produce and distribute to the U.S. the Juarez/Santa Teresa area is destined to be at the top of the list.

To make this work we need to pay more attention to security on the border and consider more self imposed security measures.  We also can’t forget that there are legitimate concerns with NAFTA in the United States, and we cannot ignore that manufacturers choose Mexico for its cheap labor.

While I am not about to enter into a lengthy examination of the pros and cons of NAFT in this article, it seems like only yesterday (actually 1998-1999) that I was studying the affects of NAFTA with Neil Harvey at New Mexico State University.  Funny the way it is that today I am continuing to study this from a more unique position.

Dona Ana County's Role

And from my position today I’m looking at what Dona Ana County can do to benefit.  Most pressing is the need for the county and Sunland Park to step up the efforts to finalize the utility and land management organization that will serve Santa Teresa.

In addition, the county needs to coordinate with other organizations.  They include the New Mexico Department of Economic Development, the New Mexico Border Authority, the International Business Accelerator and the Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance (among others).

Together we need to continue to recruit and market ourselves to the industries that are looking for a U.S. base of operations.  And we need to be prepared to offer housing and commercial space for companies looking to work on the U.S. side of the border.

To succeed it will take the hard work of each organization listed above and we all need to be committed to finding the right way to benefit from our unique position in this perfect storm."
[reprinted for fair use]


El Paso Inc. Feb. 11 2007 "letter-to-the-Editor"

El Paso Inc. Feb. 11 2007 letter to the Editor profiling the repair of the buckled-panel at the old upper american canal across from the Asarco smelter ore handling site

Dear Mr. Fenton,

Thank you for the article and photo about the repair of the old upper
American canal's broken panel, showing the Jobe Concrete truck pouring
cement for the new panel, near the American Dam (established by
International Treaty for the delivery of waters to Mexico and the USA).

We know from the IBWC's reports that 24 million dollars worth of
hazardous waste is in the soil beneath those panels right there. Some
of it is odorless and tasteless. We know from the EPWU's water reports
above and below that buckled-panel that it is leaking into that water
still flowing past the feet of those men, who are now exposed to it.
Those men are not wearing masks, most are not wearing gloves -- no one
is wearing white environmental suits. Some of those men will wash their
clothes at home or in commercial laundromats, and family members (maybe
pregnant wives or growing kids) will handle the contaminated clothing.

We know that between mid-March and mid-October that El Paso will get its
drinking water from this canal; and, that contamination still leaks
through the old-joints and the weep-holes into the canal where
ground-water touches the liner. The contamination will pass along over
70 miles of agricultural irrigation canal. The farmland below Asarco
has been called an "arsenic time-bomb" in at least one research paper.

Our community knows that Asarco burned illegal hazardous waste for
nearly a decade just a stone's throw away from this liner.
Smeltertown, in the background of this photo on the EP Inc., had 18
inches of soil removed nearly 40 years ago, for just the Pb (lead)
content alone.

The panels in that old canal were made over 70 years ago of 3 inches of
concrete laid over re-bar, just like in that photo - and layered in two
directions. They should be made of 4 inches of reinforced concrete.
This is a patch-job it appears, and the rest of the 3 miles and 400 or
so panels are still in danger of failing. The panels' failure was
predicted years ago.

The State Department in spring of '05 reviewed the various IBWC sites
and said that the employees at American Dam next to old-smeltertown were
sick, and that they were not getting independent medical review from
this region.

How long will our regulatory agencies responsible for our well-being
continue to conceal its conflicts of interests from this community and
pass along the responsibilities to the next generation---
"pass-the-buck", in cancers, lead exposure, arsenic trioxides and
actinide exposures?