SENATOR SHAPLEIGH TO HOLD PRESS CONFERENCE ON $27 MILLION CLAIM BY IBWC AGAINST ASARCO FOR CONTAMINATION OF GROUNDWATER AND THE RIO GRANDE IN EL PASO
December 6, 2007
On Friday, December 7, Senator Eliot Shapleigh (SD-29) will hold a press conference to discuss the $27 million claim by the U.S. International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) against ASARCO.
Written by Senator Eliot Shapleigh, www.shapleigh.org
EL PASO – On Friday, December 7, Senator Eliot Shapleigh (SD-29) will hold a press conference to discuss the $27 million claim by the U.S. International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) against ASARCO. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Corpus Christi is expected to hear the matter tomorrow, Friday.
According to court documents, the IBWC is claiming that ASARCO is responsible for years of lead, zinc, arsenic and cadmium contamination of soil and groundwater discharging to the Rio Grande in El Paso. As reported today by the El Paso Times:
- The brief, filed Nov. 29 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of Texas, Corpus Christi Division, states that while Asarco operated as a smelter from at least 1887 through 1999, it "emitted pollution into the air that settled into earth nearby, resulting in the contamination of soils and groundwater."
- The lawsuit states that between 1969 and 1971, the smelter emitted approximately 1,116 tons of lead, 560 tons of zinc, 1.2 tons of arsenic and 12 tons of cadmium. Unsafe lead concentrations led to the closure of the nearby community of Smeltertown in the 1970s, the lawsuit states.
- The document continues, stating that the U.S. International Boundary and Water Commission has spent $268,219, not including interest, to undertake site investigation and testing, remediate contamination and undertake environmental measures associated with the construction of a guardhouse and a wash rack at the American Dam Compound.
- The government is also anticipating $27 million in future costs by the commission related to smelter contamination. The costs include $23.9 million to be spent on contamination damage when the American Canal is renovated. Other future costs include about $735,000 to excavate and replace contaminated soil at the American Dam Compound, and $1.8 million to excavate and replace contaminated soil at an area used for equipment storage.
What: $27 million IBWC claim against ASARCO
Where: 800 Wyoming, Suite A
When: 11:00 a.m., Friday, December 7, 2007