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Saturday, January 30, 2010

ASARCO El Paso: UTEP student government event with Custodial Trustee and State Senator announces push to develop the El Paso ASARCO site

Last evening State Senator Shapleigh and the UTEP student government representatives presented, along with comments from the Project Navigator ASARCO Custodial Trustee, plans and ideas for development of the ASARCO El Paso site.

We don't even know what chemicals have been left there from the years of illegal and secret Toxic-waste burning that the EPA and Federal DOJ kept under wraps from 1998 through to 2006, when an honest DOJ attorney and the NYTimes broke the story.   We don't know what has been left in our soils, air and water from what the EPA and DOJ secretly-admitted had been secret-burnings of military and industrial wastes by Asarco for profit for YEARS.

The entire ASARCO bankruptcy was based on the fraudulent concealment of this toxic-waste and its liabilities in El Paso TX and E. Helena MT.   The DOJ Trustee would not require the courts to consider the DOJ/EPA document (a 1998 formerly confidential-for-settlement-purposes-only document and its d*mning evidence of what ASARCO had done for nearly ten years).  The contract for the custodial-trustee does not mandate that the trustee look for or clean-up anything other than what the Bankruptcy court discussed -- and the secret wastes/poisons were never discussed.

Why?   And why did the organizers of this UTEP event conveniently forget to mention that the lands around this El Paso ASARCO site --- 1000 square miles of it --- are likely extremely toxic from only god-knows-what Asarco burned all those years.  60% of the El Paso drinking water supply passes within a hundred feet of the smelter through an open over-70-year-old cracked and leaking concrete ditch.   A little known fact in the area is that waters from the Rio Grande to Mexico and the USA are officially separated at the IBWC "American Dam" and that this dam sits at the foot of the smelter.

Why isn't our government protecting us? 
And why is our community so beaten-down that they have given up trying to make their government act?   It is appalling that our governmental officials - both in the EPA, the TCEQ, the NMED and others refuse to disclose any details about what happened here.   During the winter of 1998 just before the smelter shut down, the EPA said that the Beta Radiation level around the smelter was the HIGHEST IN THE NATION.    Official(s) assure us that this was normal background radiation and nothing to worry about -- but, they fail to produce any reports or studies to substantiate their claim that this radiation level was "safe".

Next week the University next to the El Paso ASARCO smelter will discuss buying ASARCO toxic-land next to their campus -- all the while conveniently allowed to "forget" and "ignore" the poisons left on that land from the activities disclosed to the NYTIMES 10/2006 -- and still "forgotten" and "ignored" by those left in charge of our health and safety.   These officials should be some of the first to tell the community what toxins are left on that land from the near-decade that Asarco burned unmanifested and also known illegal and secret toxic wastes for profit -- but so far this has not happened.  

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