Rep. Reyes Calls for Hearings into Asarco, EPA Settlement

Date: October 16, 2006

Source: News Room

Recently revealed information has lead Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-TX) to ask for a congressional hearing and investigation of allegedly illegal disposal of military hazardous wastes at Asarco Inc.'s El Paso copper smelter and other facilities during the 1990s. The now bankrupt US copper company, Asarco, was fined $20 million by the US EPA in 1999 because it had been pretending to recycle metals while actually burning hazardous waste. According to an internal 1998 EPA memorandum, Asarco, through its subsidiary, Encycle, used a permit to extract metals as a ruse to instead burn the otherwise hazardous waste in its smelter and thus avoid the high cost of proper disposal. Asarco was founded in 1899 as the American Smelting and Refining Co., and later purchased by Mexican interests in 1999. It has been the target of federal, state and local complaints involving at least 94 sites in 21 states.

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