Border Residents Stand United Against the Asarco Demolition- April 6th

Media Advisory: International Press Conference and International Day of Action  
Border Residents Stand United Against the Asarco Demolition!
El Paso, TX and Cd. Juarez, MX – Residents of El Paso and Cd. Juarez call for a halt to the demolition of the Asarco smokestacks scheduled for April 13th until more information related to environmental testing and monitoring is achieved and made available to the public. Additionally, residents call for a more transparent process and community outreach on the plans for demolition. A Joint Press Conference will take place on Thursday, April 4th at 11:00am to protest the plans for demolition of the stacks and an International Day of Action will take place on Saturday, April 6th at 4:00pm. Both events will take place at the International Park off of Paisano (directions below).
 
Residents from both sides of the border are calling for an immediate delay in the ongoing site cleanup, citing the absence of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Environmental Assessment (EA), insufficient and incomplete testing of the stacks, and concerns regarding the proposed burial of unknown hazardous waste residues on the site that pose threats to our community’s groundwater and surface water resources and directly impact the Rio Grande River.
The level of testing that has been done thus far on the stacks is inadequate. The range of testing has not included testing for PCBs or Dioxins. PCBs and Dioxins are linked to cancer. The Trustee for the ongoing Asarco remediation, Roberto Puga, has at least twice promised citizens of El Paso that a “Supplemental Remediation Investigation” report (SRI) would be released in early 2013 and provide a review and analysis of the hazardous chemicals received and incinerated in the Asarco chimneys. With a demolition date set for less than two weeks from now, no such report has been received.
With regard to community outreach and engagement, no public comment period on the Draft Demolition Plan was announced when the plan was released on 3/21/13, no PSAs have run regarding the demolition, and no hard copies of the plan for people without access to the internet were made available in public libraries. No information on the demolition has been released in Spanish. It was only on Tuesday, April 2nd that documents in Spanish were released on the Trust’s website — less than 2 weeks before the planned demolition!
“The stack sits about 70 yards to the American Canal and about 400 yards to the Rio Grande River,” said Carlos Rodriguez, an Asarco ex-worker and member of El Paso A.W.A.R.E. “The direction these stacks are falling per the demolition plan is towards the area where the production buildings use to sit. This is where the reverb furnace and converter furnaces sat and where most of the incineration took place at Asarco. The smaller stack is falling toward the bedding building where the toxic chemicals were being stored. When the stacks are imploded, this will shake the ground and who knows what and how this will affect the chemicals already in the ground let alone the questionable material that remains in the stacks.”
From 1991 to 1998, the Asarco El Paso smelter illegally received and incinerated hazardous waste from the U.S. Department of Defense weapons facilities in Utah and Colorado. Documented violations resulted in a $5.5 million fine from the US Department of Justice. More than 80 ex-Asarco workers have been unable to determine the cause of their oncoming illnesses, and are asking for medical evaluations to determine if their blood disorders, cancers, and nerve problems are related to the handling and incineration of these identified, but untested hazardous materials.
Stop the Asarco demolition now!
 Why:         Our Water, Our Air, Our Soil, & Our Health Are Threatened
What:         Press Conference on Thursday, April 4th at 11:00 am
                    & International Day of Action on Saturday, April 6th at 4:00 pm
Where:       International Park at Border Marker No. 1, near Paisano & Executive Blvd
 Who:         Concerned Residents of El Paso and Cd. Juarez
 
Directions to International Park:
Route 1:  Head west on W. Paisano Dr. Take the NM-273 exit toward Sunland Park/Mt. Cristo Rey. Turn left toward McNutt Rd. & continue straight onto McNutt Rd. for 1.1. miles. Turn right and follow the dirt road to International Boundary Marker #1.
Route 2:  From I-10, exit Executive Blvd. Head west towards the Rio Grande River. Turn left on Paisano and stay in the far right lane.  Be ready to turn right on Ewald Kipp Way immediately after you pass the bridge.  This street is just after the “Yield” sign. You will see an “American Eagle Brick Company” sign at the base of the bridge. Cross the narrow bridge. Turn left after you cross the bridge and travel approximately ¼ mile down the dirt road to International Park.
For Additional Information contact:
Carlos Rodriguez (El Paso)
El Paso A.W.A.R.E. & Ex-Asarco Workers United

About virginiaisaad

Virginia is a journalist based in Los Angeles who's written for publications including Los Angeles magazine, Upworthy, and Elite Daily. She was born in Argentina and raised in the San Fernando Valley along with her three siblings. Fun fact: She took a Chicanas and Feminism course with Eva Longoria while studying for her master's in mass communication at California State University, Northridge. Follow her on Twitter @virginiaisaad

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