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Friday, December 12, 2014

El Paso Times Editorial calls area polluted with hafnium (from nuclear control rods) "prime real estate"

"I think this would be a great opportunity and a great benefit for UT El Paso," Regent Ernest Aliseda of McAllen said.
The Asarco land is prime real estate for El Paso's future. Given the role UTEP must play in building that future, it makes sense for the UT System to consider the purchase.
And the regents' cautious approach makes sense. Nothing can be done before the environmental cleanup is complete.
[h.m. note: this "clean up" can never be complete, except for by ignoring what really happened there -- and, the ones involved are protected from disclosure under US 1940's Atomic Energy Act.   We have the data and documentation to show what is found around that site and that Asarco (and 2 other companies caught by EPA/US DOJ sending illegal stuff here) were US DOE High Level Radioactive Disposal Contractors, and $100 million is only a drop in the bucket for cleaning up what is there]
But eventual UTEP control of at least some of the Asarco land makes a lot of sense."

[h.m. note: proper cleanup of the ASARCO site would have created billions of dollars of jobs for at LEAST ten years!]

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

CEMEX deemed liable for 1 million of ASARCO clean-up costs; Stanley Jobe as material witness

"Cemex Must Foot $1M Of Asarco's Lead, Arsenic Cleanup Bill

By Jeremy Heallen

Law 360, Houston (April 01, 2014, 7:18 PM ET) -- A Texas federal judge said Monday that Cemex Inc. is responsible for a portion of about $22 million that Asacro LLC paid in environmental cleanup costs associated with a Superfund site that both companies allegedly polluted.

U.S. District Judge Philip R. Martinez ruled that Cemex must pay Asarco $1.1 million under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, to cover its share of a $22 million settlement Asarco struck with the federal government to remediate lead and arsenic contamination on a 6-acre industrial site in...

Case Information

Case Title
Asarco LLC v. Cemex Corp

Case Number

Texas Western

Nature of Suit
Environmental Matters

Philip R. Martinez

Law360 Coverage
Cemex Must Foot $1M Of Asarco's Lead, Arsenic Cleanup Bill
Asarco Says It Didn't Waive Cemex Claim In $19M Cleanup Row
Date Filed
April 26, 2012"


Track this case

Case Number:

Texas Western

Nature of Suit:
Environmental Matters

28:1331 Fed. Question

Philip R. Martinez

Mounce Green
Ray Valdez
Cemex, S.A.B. de C.V.
Sectors & Industries:
Industrial Goods
View recent docket activity »
Reflects complaints, answers, motions, orders and trial notes entered from Jan. 1, 2011.
Additional or older documents may be available in Pacer.

April 1, 2014
Cemex Must Foot $1M Of Asarco's Lead, Arsenic Cleanup Bill
A Texas federal judge said Monday that Cemex Inc. is responsible for a portion of about $22 million that Asacro LLC paid in environmental cleanup costs associated with a Superfund site that both companies allegedly polluted.

Christopher Antcliff
Represented by:
Asarco LLC
Represented by:
Nicole Jennifer Anchondo, Ray, Valdez, McChristian & Jeans, PC

Laura G. Brys, Integer Law Corporation

Gregory Evans, Integer Law Corporation

Tanya Guerrero, Integer Law Corporation

David S. Jeans, Ray, Valdez, McChristian & Jeans

William R. Pletcher, Integar Law Corporation

James G. Warren, Integer Law Corporation

Cemex Construction Materials South, LLC
Represented by:
Andres Eduardo Almanzan, Mounce, Green, Myers, Safi, Paxson & Galatzan

Steven Lee Hughes, Attorney at Law

Walter D. James, III, Walter D. James, III, PLLC

David Moises Mirazo, Mounce, Green, Myers, Safi, Paxson & Galatzan

TERMINATED: 03/22/2013
Cemex Corp
Represented by:
Andres Eduardo Almanzan, Mounce, Green, Myers, Safi, Paxson & Galatzan

Walter D. James, III, Walter D. James, III, PLLC

Cemex, Inc.
Represented by:
Andres Eduardo Almanzan, Mounce, Green, Myers, Safi, Paxson & Galatzan

Steven Lee Hughes, Attorney at Law

Walter D. James, III, Walter D. James, III, PLLC

David Moises Mirazo, Mounce, Green, Myers, Safi, Paxson & Galatzan

Material Witness
Stanley Pruet Jobe
Represented by:
Marjorie Wilcox Jobe, 5588 Westside Drive"

1943 thru 1946 lead smelter and/or land leased from ASARCO produced uranium used in Manhattan Project

Page 1
DOE/AL/62350-210REV. 0 COMMENT AND RESPONSEDOCUMENT FOR THE LONG-TERM SURVEILLANCE PLAN FOR THE BODO CANYON DISPOSAL SITE DURANGO, COLORADO November 1995 ASTER DISCLAIMER This report was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an agency of the United States Government. Neither the United States Government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, orprocess disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark,manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States Government or any agency thereof. The viewsand opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect th.ose of theUnited States Government or any agency thereof. 1
Page 2
COMMENT AND RESPONSE DOCUMENT FOR THE BODO CANYON DISPOSAL SITE, WRANGO, COLORADO LONG-TERM SURVEILLANCE PLAN FOR THE STATE OF COLORADO UMTRA DOCUMENT REVIEW FORM COMMENT Site: Bodo Canyon Disposal I Site. Durango. Colorado Document: Draft Lona-Term Surveillance Plan Reviewer: State of Colorado Date: June 27. 1994Comment: 1, Paae 2-1, Section 2.1 Other histories of the Durango mill site indicate the U.S. Vanadium Corporation (USV)built and operated a uranium after leasing the site from American Smelting andRefining Company (ASARCO) who had operated a lead smelter at that location. This should be confirmed and, if correct, should be clarified in the first paragraph of the site history. The first paragraph seems confused about the chronology of events. It was USV not ASARCO who built and operated the vanadium mill in 1942 and who,from 1943 to the mill's closure in 1946, reprocessed vanadium tailings to provide uranium for the Manhattan Project [hm:leased from ASARCO, who was principle uranium ore buyer for US atomic energy commission (US DOE)].

RESPONSE Page: 2-1By: C. Saumur Date: September 1995 Section 2.1, Site History, has been rewritten to read as follows: "In 1942, U.S. Vanadium Corporation leased the property and constructed a uranium processing mill on the site. This mill operated until 1946, when the mill was shutdown."

[it is commonly known that in the early days lead smelters were used to separate out uranium from parent ores]

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

1995 Asarco silver troy oz silver registers radiation

An ASARCO 1995 silver "dollar" given as a "health safety excellence" award to "Best record Mission Complex" registers 25 micro-Sv on radiation scale for factory calibrated meter, when registering for gamma/beta/alpha particles, when tested for only a few minutes.  Background radiation in El Paso TX 3 miles from Asarco smelter site usually registers almost half that (14) with same meter.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Letter to Honorable Rep. O'Rourke, U.S. House of Representatives about Asarco, US DOE wastes, and plans to build elementary school on the old lead(Pb) dump

Statement made 2/21/2014 at 3PM EST for Honorable Rep. O’Rourke’s Attention

Masters in Science 
Fully endorsed by Nobel team winner Dr. Devra Davis, author of “Secret history of Cancer”
Attended Rachel Carson's College – she wrote "Silent Spring" a key book  about the dangers of both toxic chemicals and radiation
Trained under the last PHD student for Nobel Medical Prize Winner Dr. Niko Tinbergen
Fully certified designated highly qualified Science teacher grades 8-12, also, certified to teach gifted students (UTEP, 2010)
Bachelors of Science at the Ohio State University 
Endorsed by Father of semiotics, Dr. Thomas Sebeok (on file OSU), who participated in WA D.C. panel on how to label nuclear waste sites to warn off future generations

It has come to my attention that development is planned for a 200+ acres of land on the other side of TX Interstate I-10, part of the original Asarco properties a stone’s throw away from the site of the Asarco stacks. The plans for this site are to create family homes. Under smart code development requirements they are required to build an elementary school and playground. We know per Dr. Goodell (UTEP) statement to Channel 7 KVIA that paving the Asarco site will not make the area safe for people. We know that slag gives off gases (called "off-gassing") for nearly 100 years. Some of these gases are toxic (I.e Arsenic) and cannot be smelled or tasted. We know from the Mesita School Health Study (Peer reviewed) that children growing up attending that school close to the Asarco site have a greater chance in their lifetime of getting MS. 

• Honorable Rep. Beto O’Rourke has a greater chance of getting MS from attending the Mesita School.

• Males who have MS have greater chance of passing MS to their children. 

• According to smart code Dover Kohl diagram an elementary school will be placed on top of Asarco old lead dump, which is quite large. The grading permits are in place. 

• This lead dump was created during the 1940s and 1950s and has remained undisturbed throughout the cleanup. 

• During the 1940s the UTEP (formerly College of mines, next to Asarco site) grads were at the center of the largest uranium strikes found in the Western United States.

• Asarco during those years was a custom smelter. It would smelt anything. 

• Lead smelter during those years (1940s-1950s) were used to separate out Uranium from their parent ores (i.e. Wulfenite).

• The waste material (ores) would’ve been put in the old lead dump and likely are radioactive tailings.

• Under the bankruptcy agreement, the trustee for the cleanup is not required to address radioactive waste.

• Despite 8 years of research, all government agencies (EPA, USDA, DoD, DOJ, etc) have refused any information regarding "regulated" radioactive materials going through our El Paso Asarco site. They claim no knowledge and refuse to release key invoices listed in the 73 page US DOJ EPA Asarco confidential for settlement purposes only document (now in public domain, see NYTimes 10/2006)

• The old Atomic Energy Act still protects Asarco and all involved from disclosure and liability.

• I uncovered a document from Idaho National Laboratory Library detailing how Asarco, Dupont, Engelhard were official U.S. DOE high level radioactive waste disposal contractors from places like Oakridge TN and Hanford WA during the years Asarco was burning illegal, secret hazardous waste (1998 73 page USDOJ EPA Asarco formerly confidential for settlement purposes only document)(New York Times, front page story, October 2006).

• The community has not been told all the details about what has been burned all those years and is still not being told. 

• Engelhard, Dupont, Asarco were listed in the aforementioned 1998 confidential for settlement purposes only document sludges, incinerator ashes and only God knows what else through the two El Paso Asarco con-top furnaces (that metal curled stack was shorter than the others so its smoke stayed more local – likely a 30 mile radius including Juarez Mexico, Southern New Mexico and Texas).

• We have data showing that the chemical element Hafnium is found in greater quantities amount near the stack location. Hafnium is unusual. Hafnium is commonly found in nuclear control rods. 

• In 1998 an EPA publicly announced that El Paso had the highest Beta radiation levels in the nation. Higher than Oakridge, Higher than Hanford. In October 1998, Texas suddenly decided to deny the license of the Sierra Blanca Nuclear Dump site. During that time, the media coverage on that issue of the dump was so high that thousands of people were marching at the Capitol of Mexico against the dump. Media coverage was huge. 

• By December 1998, Asarco said in the El Paso Times it was thinking about "idling" the Asarco Smelter, and it did beginning of February 1999. The plant never re-opened.  All the staff who worked at the site's steam plant are dead now, from unusual diseases, according to an unnamed supervisor. 

• I asked all the environmental agencies representatives to give me a sample of slag from the Asarco water distillation unit (it went up in flames during clean-up) rated to remove radioactive waste from the plant's process water. They refused. 

Given all this information, we know Asarco ran U.S. DOE high level radioactive waste materials through the El Paso Asarco smelter and it is likely that the old lead dump contained radioactive material. That whole area would be contaminated by Arsenic for years to come. If the powers that be still continue with development of the Asarco site as detailed recently in an El Paso Inc article by David Crowder, I plead, deeply plead, with Honorable Representative Beto O’Rourke, given his own experience attending Mesita Elementary School a mile from Asarco, that they do not allow children to grow up on any of the Asarco land. That they do not build play grounds. That they do not build an elementary school there. He of all people should understand having attended Mesita the risks that that all these children will undergo if they allow the school and playground to be built. As a certified teacher and a Christian, it deeply grieves me. It hurts my heart to watch this happen. 

Heather McMurray

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Environmental Agencies' Silence is Deafening

Amazing silence from the Environmental Agencies (federal, state, local) about what ASARCO had to have contaminated us with --- from what the EPA told the Federal DOJ Asarco did here in the 1990's (illegal secret burning of toxic wastes for profit, for years).

To add insult to injury, apparently the NM Sec. of the Environment is the new EPA regional administrator --- is that the reward these days for keeping one's mouth shut? Neither he or the NM Governor have answered the evidence or questions in the letter from the Sunland Park Grassroots Environmental group. That letter was hand delivered twice, over two years, directly to the Governor.

Meanwhile the BLM land within the shadow of the Asarco stacks was given to the state of NM (without declaring the toxic wastes that have to be there from Asarco) so that UP Railroad can then buy them "at auction" and construct the modal rail center for its Sunset Line --- within a few miles of the infamous Camino Real Dump (i.e. "landfill") that has accepted maquiladora wastes for years, and right by the Foxconn & Verde Group Santa Teresa San Jeronimo International City. Somehow none of these business entities have managed to help the landowners at Loma Del Poleo from the concrete-concentration-camp fencing and machine-gun armed "guards" right by this Santa Teresa development (the landowners hold deeds from 30 years ago -- which the government and prior landowners -- Zaragoza, Lugo, etc. won't recognize now).

The previous Lomas del Poleo attorney was killed. Environmentalists, activists, are dying like flies in Juarez & Mexico, hidden in the violence and called "collateral damage": one ejected from a car, another strangled, another shot six times, another shot. Here in the USA key people are being dragged through the courts or losing employment/income at the most inopportune times.

NM  hired a DHS Secretary --- he recently had retired in 2008 from a 30 year C.I.A. career -- with five years of that in Mexico.

This is the border... what a recent NAFTA conference called "the most competitive spot in North and South America". What those same speakers refer to as "San Diego to Brownsville". They are developing the first international-city model here that could then be propagated through the entire San Diego to Brownsville region.

This is the border --- where for years the NYC mafia railed New York City sludge down 90 miles from El Paso to the tiny town of Sierra Blanca TX with the blessings of many including the TNRCC (the old TCEQ), many University (sludge-funded) "studies", New York State, the railroad --- until NY State Prosecutors were able to put the owners into federal prison for 10 years (2001 to around 2010). The sludges were too toxic to dump anywhere in the entire state of New York.

Now a company that started a few years ago wants to mine a mountain next to the tiny town of Sierra blanca for rare earth minerals.  These are combined with an extremely toxic form of beryllium; and, with thorium.  Beneath it all lies a huge deposit of uranium.  This mine is close to an interstate highway and a similar railroad.  Current plans call for leaching out the rare earth minerals over a liner with acids; and, who knows, they may add in materials brought in from other sites.  The Banker in charge is from New Jersey.  In my opinion the whole thing stinks.  IMHO with that kind of contamination you can't possibly run a profit unless you either ignore the radioactive waste dump created, or you use the dump to get rid of toxic waste --- something that has happened in our region  BIG TIME with Asarco so who is to say it is not possible it could happen again?  As the US DOJ said, the money was good.

You cannot eat, drink, or breathe money...

“Only when the last tree had died And the last river had been poisoned And the last fish has been caught Will we realize we cannot eat money.” ~ Cree proverb