Community Angry Over ASARCO Cleanup Payment
May 12, 2009
A crowd of angry lawmakers and citizens gathered at City Hall Monday night after learning ASARCO may only pay a fraction of what it could take to remediate the El Paso smelter.
Written by Derek Shore, KFOX News
EL PASO, Texas -- A crowd of angry lawmakers and citizens gathered at City Hall Monday night after learning ASARCO may only pay a fraction of what it could take to remediate the El Paso smelter.
"They've been here 100 years but they don't want to pay for the 100 years of damage that they are going to do in the future,” said Ed Soto, of Central El Paso.
Soto was furious after he learned that the defunct ASARCO Co., as it stands now, is only slated to hand over $52 million dollars in a bankruptcy settlement to clean up and knock down the El Paso smelter.
U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes also attended the meeting and expressed his concerns.
"We're not satisfied that we were adequately represented in this process in this bankruptcy,” Reyes said. “$52 million is nowhere near enough to take care of that sight."
The major concern centers around the land’s high levels of toxic chemicals that would be very hard to remove.
Toxic chemicals like arsenic, lead and cadmium have been found in the soil and the drinking water. However, the Texas Commission on Environment Quality believes the $52 million is plenty.
"The end result is that the land is remediated and at some point down the road in the future it can be used for beneficial use of the community as well," said Carlos Rubinstein, of the TCEQ.
But the concern remains that the full extent of the contamination may not be known, and if ASARCO doesn't have to put down another dime then who will?
"The only other alternative is taxpayer dollars. So we want to make sure ASARCO is accountable," Reyes said.
A tax payer like Soto who said it’s something he's not prepared to do.
"Make it whole; make it the way it was before ASARCO ruined it for everybody,” Soto said.
A bankruptcy hearing is expected for sometime later this month to begin to finalize the settlement. KFOX will continue to follow this story and bring you the very latest.
Fair Use Notice
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a "fair use" of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond "fair use", you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.