Research and creation done by Heather McMurray, x.heather[at]gmail.com
Research and creation on the illegal actions of ASARCO El Paso smelter (from at least 1991 to 1998) done by Heather McMurray (Masters in Biological Sciences) from 2003 to current date, x.heather[at]gmail.com.....The content of my Blog is used by UTEP classes (Dr. Wagler, 2013 winner of UTEP Regents' $25,000 best teacher awards) , endorsed by 2007 Nobel Peace Prize team-winning author Dr. Devra Davis, and supported by various ex Asarco Workers, including the only ex-Asarco-worker to testify at the ASARCO El Paso 2005 Air Permit renewal Hearing, and others whom I deeply respect for their concern about the poisoning of of water, and health of our children. My qualifications include attending Chatham University that Rachel Carson attended (author of "Silent Spring"), receiving Masters in Biology from Professor who was last student of Nobel prize winner in medicine at Oxford University, Great Britain (Dr. Niko Tinbergen), and being designated a certified highly qualified composite science teacher through UTEP. I was the person who singlehandedly uncovered the 1998 73 page confidential for settlement purposes only US DOJ EPA ASARCO document (NY Times front page 10, 2006, media done by Bill Guerra Addington, of the Sierra Blanca Dump Fight); the 1994-5 Asarco Supervisor's whistle-blower's report; the information that Asarco had installed a site-wide water purification/distillation unit that removed radioactive wastes; that a local resident has house dust test information showing that nuclear control rod material called hafnium is found in greater quantities closer to our El Paso smelter; that El Paso has a critical home RADON GAS problem from radioactive radium in the soil outside their home (I presented the authors' paper to the La Paz Accord International JAC committee @2009 who took no action, headed by US EPA Co-chair Bill Luthans) ; and that 3 of the companies caught sending illegal materials for smelting in El Paso were US DOE High level Radioactive Waste Disposal contractors -- including ASARCO (paper published mid 1990's by US DOE Idaho Nat. Lab). In 12/1998 when Asarco began to talk about idling the El Paso plant, their decision came only 2 months after the Sierra Blanca Nuclear dump fight forced TX to deny a license for a nuclear dump site Oct/98, and I discovered EPA data showing how that the winter that the EPA reported El Paso TX had the highest Beta Radiation Levels in the nation -- higher than Oak Ridge TN. Side Note: Sierra Club was not connected to this research/work in any way. The work stands on its own merits in this blog and the attached documents in Scribe gathered on my own and from various sources. Respected Industrial geologists, scientists and attorneys have commented that this work is excellent work and rely on it.
I was non-renewed and regionally blacklisted from working again after disclosing Asarco's impact to our water. Very Sad when the community was afraid to back me up publicly, and I watched this happen to at least two other people. 3 of the 5 who handled the process and vote to non-renew me were later caught in criminal conduct including stealing. One (a former policeman) was recently put into federal prison for four years. The community needs to know what actually happened so that the bad people who allowed a lot of this to go on do not continue to have the power they have. But many are extremely powerful and people are still afraid. Some pose as model citizens and you do not dare to challenge that. Dr. Davis (part of a team that won the 2007 Nobel Peace prize) thanked me for my courage, in a handwritten preface to her 2nd book; and, Mexican activist Selfa Chew (senior, Mother of Dr. Mariana Chew who worked for Sierra Club several years before abandoning the job for another to run the sewage treatment plant in Anapra NM), who started the first labor union across from Asarco wrote me a card in 2008 saying , " Gracias por compastir con migo tos Ideales" among other kind words for my work researching Asarco. Professors Lin Nelson and Ann Fischel in WA wrote, ""to reaffirm what Veronica (Carbajal esq.) said so well, we join with others in honoring the work you have done, the sacrifices you have made...your work on the DOJ materials ("asarco secret document NYTimes 10/06) and your vigilance in bringing it into the light of day is of central significance" (email 12-apr-10). One of my students wrote me years later, " I'm proud and honored that you were my biology teacher." I continue to thank those who stood by me, support me, and say good words not gossip to others. I especially wish to thank Tammy in Corpus who told me about the blue alligator.
EPA, TCEQ, El Paso and San Antonio TRLA, Lois Gibb's group and exworkers from El Paso/citizens are working to "clean up" Encycle/Corpus Christi. Resident and Sierra Club Executive board member, Juan Garza (profiled in Sierra Club magazine 04-05) never revealed and will not release all the full metals analyses from his homes' attic dusts showing how hafnium levels (in nuclear control rods) are higher near our El Paso Asarco site than further away. Why? El Paso (whose smelter burned the stuff from ENCYCLE) drolls over the Asarco land ....El Paso's children are sacrificed to a nearly billion dollar elevated highway transportation project running right through the worst of the worst poisons from Encycle along El Paso's site... that will benefit....whom? Not the ex-workers. Not TRLA. Not the IBWC workers at American dam next to our El Paso Asarco site. How about it maybe aiding the the San Jeronimo Santa Teresa development next door (heavily involved with Washington DC's Rep. O'Rourke's billionaire Father-in-Law, Bill Sanders whose former high level exec. has run the US Carlyle Realty Group)? WAKE UP CORPUS CHRISTI because you are being sacrificed, too. EPA is still withholding the remainder of evidence from you. Powers that be plan to build an elementary school right on top of the El Paso smelter old Lead (Pb) dump) -- where are the ex-workers protesting, in El Paso? Where is TRLA in El Paso? Where is the rep. from Lois Gibb's group when this was the hottest radioactive city in America in 1998 the year she personally gave nuclear activist in El Paso (Bill Addington) an Award for a 56 day fast (no food, just mineral water)? Why is El Paso left out? Why? I cry tears of frustration and grief for our children and water supply, for the sick at IBWC who fought for us since 2001, and the ex-workers who care about the next generations in El Paso, the 3 year olds fighting heart disease and leukemias; the brain cancers and MS. Until EPA or TCEQ hand over the critical split samples I have asked for for 8 years, or the invoices from the 1998 USDOJ EPA secret document ---- then EPA is lying to ALL of us. They are lying to Corpus Christi, El Paso, East Helena and other past Asarco sites.... because Asarco was and probably still is a US DOE HLRW disposal contractor. And EPA and Asarco ought to prove to us that this is not being continued in Hayden, AZ by giving a split sample of that stack's emissions' to the community: Corpus Christi got one (those families in that law suit got $$). But El Paso never did get a stack emissions sample - ever. The El Paso trustee forced us to watch that black soot flow out of the stacks over many communities when he brought down the stacks -- but somehow he/TCEQ/EPA could never share a sample of it....
...Luke 9:62 "No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God"
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Sunland Park NM to be sacrificed by asarco wastes, waste connections, even maybe el paso as if 2007 never happened...
Latest IBWC public meeting revealed that IBWC plans to dig up all the contaminated soil beneath them next to old Smelter town and ship it across the NM state line to dump in Waste Connection's Sunland Park Dump. This waste is extremely toxic. It contains radioactive particles. This is the dump that the small town residents tried to close to any out of state wastes and/or shut it down (2 week administrative hearing winter, unheated hall, 2 weeks before Christmas back in 2007. The residents who stuck it out day after day (9 am to 9 or 10 pm, Monday through Saturday)against 3 law firm groups were petition-residents from anapra mexico (Mariana Chew would sit in for them at times), Taylor Moore, esq., Robert Ardovino, Luz Vargus, Heather McMurray. Also City of Sunland Park. We showed strong evidence about how there is a surface fault running from the waste water pond across the rio grande, and that the chief engineer could not correctly testify how the leachate (waste) collection system needed to have liners installed at certain distances--- strongly suggesting that the leachate/chemical waste collection system does not work correctly and it runs into the pond, which may act as an unofficial injection well. In 2007 they were collecting only gallons of liquids from their leachate "catch" system, claiming it was a dry desert environment....... This is the dump that during the hearing was demonstrated to be concentrating radioactive radium (which gives off radon gas). The waste connections company flew their chief attorney (V.P.) out for the remainder of the trial. He was taller than anyone in the room, wore an impeccable long black (cashmere?) coat, and had a head cold. They spent much money on witnesses, providing an expert witness who worked to remove anthrax from buildings (former NYC Mayor Guliani's company), did only a literature search, claimed he had made assumption that nothing radioactive could have been in the dump, and that if the government said something then it must be true... when he testified he had the unfortunate condition where his head would randomly pull his face over to his shoulder, in a regrettable muscle tic or spasm. When we pointed out he had done no community health assessment, that no peer reviewed health assessment had ever been done, and his work was a literature review, he got angry. Now, five years later, waste connections again wants to stop flow control in el paso, have that El Paso TX waste go to their dump next to the tiny elementary school in tiny Sunland Park, New Mexico; and, also accept the IBWC asarco dirt. What people may not know is that thousands of tons of asarco zinc plant EPA-remediation debris concrete and dirt went to the Camino real dump around 2001: the admin. Judge and opposing law firms would only allow around five pages of that testimony into the record in 2007.
Emily Dickinson XVIII: POEM The Book of Martyrs modified in honor of Gloria Guerra Addington's efforts against a nuclear dump; also a H.S. senior who was told she'd lose her deca college scholarship for refusing to recant a petition against a corrupt principal; her teacher, who quit after yrs of successful teaching, retrained ,interviewed 20 times until he was quietly told he'd been blacklisted regionally; to the young Jessica who quit teaching mid year after her dad betrayed a fellow teacher to protect his daughter from corruption; to the Human Resources lady who quit and left her corrupt boss; to the lead-contaminated kids of anapra NM who will always have short anger fuses, and are being yet again knowingly sacrificed to El Paso's wastes from IBWC; to the middle school where when the wind blew from the direction of dump they inexplicably got nose bleeds; to the retired Messita elementary school Principal who got brain cancer after retirement (overheard); to the researcher(s) and attorney(s) sacrificed (losing homes, health, employment) fighting against the grinding machine of unlimited attorneys for the corruption; to all the women in this region who complain of rampant reproductive cancers and said, quote "Asarco should just have dropped a bomb on them"; to the babies born quietly during the 1990's at the county hospital to women who lived along the river -- whose babies died from lack of a liver or a pancreas or a brain; to all the thousands who protested the Sierra Blanca Nuclear dump and so unknowingly idled a smelting illegal radioactive behemoth, too; and to the present "kingdom" of El Paso who remain unaware, or worse knew and held onto a love of money, and failed to help even at the risk of their immortal souls.... this poem is dedicated.
Read, sweet, how others [in the Paso del Norte] strove, Till we are stouter [old]; What they renounced [gave up while others kept], Till we are less afraid [could rest a little easier from the good got done]; How many times they bore The faithful witness, Till we [the community, the children] are helped, As if a kingdom cared! [they don't] Read then of faith That shone above the fagot [bundle of iron under high melting heat]; Clear strains of hymn The river could not drown; Brave names of men And celestial women, Passed out of record [forgotten] Into renown [rewards of heaven] !
Monday, September 23, 2013
History repeats itself (Asarco has not apparently changed): Up and Running Hayden AZ Asarco Smelter gets slap on hand from EPA: El Pasoans watch in eerie reminder of PCB's/transformers found at Asarco El Paso smelter (exworkers believe the illegal wastes burned at the El Paso site included PCB's)
"EPA Fines Asarco over Improper Handling of PCBs LEGISLATION & REGULATIONS Company also will spend more than $115,000 to clean up its facility in Hayden, Ariz. Recycling Today Staff SEPTEMBER 23, 2013 Share on facebook Share on twitter Share on pinterest_share Share on linkedin Share on email Share on print The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has fined Asarco LLC $30,900 for using buildings contaminated with PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) and improper management of PCB waste. The EPA also announced that Asarco will spend $115,714 to reduce PCBs at its copper smelter in Hayden, Ariz. The violations stemmed from a 2011 inspection in which EPA inspectors found two buildings contaminated with PCBs that Asarco employees continued to use, a violation of the federal Toxic Substances Control Act. As part of the agreement, Asarco has agreed to replace three PCB transformers at the smelter, reducing future risk of exposure to workers and the environment. "
Posted by Elpaso at Monday, September 23, 2013
Saturday, September 7, 2013
Is Asarco still a U.S. DOE high level radioactive waste disposal contractor? Did Asarco "clean-up its mess from encycle/elpaso/hayden/colorado to build a "duplicate" haz-waste disposal operation now out of Hayden? How on earth could they turn themselves away from that easy money that the U.S. DOJ and EPA described Asarco had made from its illegal incinerations of the 1990's? When those illegal wastes are burned they cause explosions (even in clean-ups, in el paso). The company burned the wastes so hot and fast through their new CONTOPs in 1992-3 that they had to rebuild it. Sound similar........Without the split samples the El Paso community asked for (never got) how will truth -- scientific truth EVER come out for the workers in Hayden... Corpus Christi, and, here?
"Asarco's Hayden smelter shut after mishap September 06, 2013 17:01 CDT HAYDEN, Ariz. (AP) -- A mishap at copper miner Asarco LLC's Hayden smelter damaged the plant and will shut down operations for about a week as repairs are made. Asarco vice president for environmental affairs Thomas Aldrich says molten metal broke out of the side walls of the flash furnace at about 4:30 a.m. Friday. The molten copper hit nearby water pipes, triggering a series of explosion-like concussions.
Posted by Elpaso at Saturday, September 07, 2013
Thursday, September 5, 2013
The Paisano TX State Route 62 route that authorities want to build an 800 million$ elevated toll road over --- that is poisoned land. TCEQ has published a picture showing how the poisons from Asarco travel underground right beneath the cracked water canals, Paisano, old smeltertown, right to the Rio Grande the entire length of the Asarco property. To build the new highway requires drilling pylons deep into this contamination every 20 or 30 feet, and about the same distance down. This will expose workers to gases that can't be smelled, that are KNOWN to cause M.S.. I had told the people responsible for this project YEARS ago, face to face, that it was poisoned there and communities would suffer. They did not care. AT an MPO meeting, where Norma Cavez supported me, Chairman Rep. Pickett said "He would hold ASARCO's feet to the fire". Pickett never did. During the 2005 Asarco air permit hearing, a conservative kind businessman said to me, "You have the best interests at heart but are naive. Senator Shapleigh and those folks have no intention of really cleaning up Asarco -- all they want is the land". Eight years later we can see what is the truth of it. The love of money governs this whole mock-Asarco "cleanup", and the building of a toll highway where the poor will drive below, with the trucks and the poisons. Entire neighborhoods will be affected by this. Our water supply, now under new County control, will be affected by this. The poisons not only run under the ground at the beginning of the huge Hueco aquifer, but are on our mountains and lands --- those living within the EPA 3 mile zone get the worst exposure (even with Asarco closed); then those within 9 miles get the worst lead (Pb) exposure (including radioactive lead); and experts predict the worst to have contaminated out to 30 miles (1000 square miles) -- including radioactive particles. The smallest particles would have stayed in the skies for weeks, traveling hundreds of miles at least. This highway should not be built. WHEN will our news agencies wake up and start reporting on what the common person already knows, but the average middleclass worker who barely has time for the Newspaper and TV News, is totally unaware?
New law requires County of El Paso to run Water Improvement District elections by Alberto Tomas Halpern // August 16, 2013 // Government "A new law set to take effect on September 1 will require the El Paso County Water Improvement District #1 (EPCWID) to contract with El Paso County’s Elections Department to run its elections. In addition, the new law, Senate Bill 856, authored by state senator Jose Rodriguez, mandates that the water district maintain a website and make available online: campaign finance reports for each elected board director, meeting agendas and minutes, archived video and audio for each meeting, the water district’s budget, and any audits of the district. The water district already maintains a website, but the minutes, budgets, audits, and campaign finance reports are not currently available online...."
Monday, August 26, 2013
While Asarco was burning secret illegal wastes and putting $$ into Swiss Bank, verified secret memo now shows how "top US Treasury officials secretly conspired with a small cabal of banker big-shots to rip apart financial regulation" $$$
Greg Palast | Larry Summers and the Secret 'End-Game' Memo (includes links to memos)
Greg Palast, News Investigation: The Memo confirmed every conspiracy freak's fantasy: that in the late 1990s, the top US Treasury officials secretly conspired with a small cabal of banker big-shots to rip apart financial regulation across the planet. When you see 26.3 percent unemployment in Spain, desperation and hunger in Greece, riots in Indonesia and Detroit in bankruptcy, go back to this End Game memo, the genesis of the blood and tears. The Treasury official playing the bankers' secret End Game was Larry Summers.
Posted by Elpaso at Monday, August 26, 2013
Monday, August 12, 2013
NY Times sold Boston Globe for 70 Million (carrying 14% interest on 250 million$ loan from Carlos Slim in 2009)
Anyone got an update on the NY Times 250 mil loan? Did it get paid off already?
NYTimes had to take it out just seven months after releasing (front page 10/06) my US DOJ EPA 1998 73 page conf for settlement purposes only document (a document that hid Asarco, Dupont and Englehard were acting as a US DOE High level radioactive waste disposal contractors while burning unlisted illegal materials at El Paso's smelter for big $$.) The Asarco hedge fund creditor Harbinger spent huge sum of money those following months to try to buy control of the NY Times Board, but failed. NYTimes took out loan (below) with Slim, who later had Slim's company take big control of Asarco SPCC mine. (use internal search engine to read more).
"Within a single week, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos agreed to spend $250 million to buy The Washington Post from the Graham family and Red Sox owner John W. Henry declared his intention to acquire The Boston Globe from The New York Times Co. for $70 million.Earlier this summer, BH Media, the newspaper division of billionaire Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway outfit, said it was snapping up The Press of Atlantic City for an undisclosed sum. BH Media already owned dozens of newspapers, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch and the Omaha World-Herald.Meanwhile, the arch-conservative billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch are still believed to be angling for the Los Angeles Times over the loud objections of the newspaper's own staff. "
Saturday, May 23, 2009
NYTimes now in debt to Carlos Slim and Harbinger has two seats on its board....
"Harbinger acquired its stake in the NYTimes in 2007. Since then, the $500 million investment has lost more than three quarters of its value. Harbinger has two seats on the Times board of directors."..."The Times' $1 billion-plus in debt forced it to take a loan from Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim worth $250 million earlier this year. The Times paid $4.5 million up front to borrow the money and will pay 14% interest." http://www.thewrap.com/article/fortune-geffen-almost-had-his-hands-new-york-times)
Posted by Elpaso at Saturday, May 23, 2009
Posted by Elpaso at Monday, August 12, 2013
Sunday, August 11, 2013
Conjecture suggests that this could eventually cause a layoff and possibly influence another state's union negotiations at around the exact same time some critical Texas negotiations are occurring. Usually in the past gossip suggests that union attorney will sacrifice one location's negotiation's to save jobs at another if necessary.
ASARCO was (and the company still may be) a US DOE High Level Radioactive Waste Disposal contractor (along with two other companies caught illegally incinerating massive amounts of material by US DOJ/EPA from 1991 thru 1998: Dupont and Engelhard); also one or more government sites that sent materials to Encycle/El Paso were contaminated by things like Beryllium.
After 8 years and numerous requests, El Pasoans have not been told the answer to the simplest question for a copper smelter:"how much radioactive lead (Pb) is present at the El Paso smelter?" Appalling. Inhalation of one alpha radioactive nano-particle like that is more toxic than arsenic and would have boiled out of the collapsing stacks within the black soot, mixed with the other dust and drifted into neighborhoods -both USA and Mexico. All such smelters were producers of radioactive lead (Pb).
Arizona Daily Star"Despite a slowdown in copper prices for most of this year, Asarco plans to boost annual copper production at its Mission mine complex by 16 percent, by expanding its copper concentrator.The company also recently reopened a molybdenum production plant at Mission, about five years after it closed.Between them, the two projects will mean 25 additional jobs at the Mission complex south of Tucson, bringing the workforce there to 663."
when asked where he stood on building the mine.
Speaking to the Democrats of Oro Valley, community activitist Gayle Hartmann gives an overview of the Rosemont Project, and efforts to curb the proposed mine by the Save the Santa Rita Environmental Group.
Meanwhile, huge crowds have turned out in the permitting process to protest what they saw as an attack on their way of life. These are the people of Elgin, Sonoita, Sahuarita and Green Valley, including Charles Huckelberry, Pima's county manager and Ed Norris, Chairman of the Tohono O'odham people both who represent large parts of southern Arizona. To counter, Rosemont sponsored the Tour of Tucson Bike Race one year and yet another it sponsored the epic 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo Mountain Bike Race all in hopes of raising it's "environmental" image and trying to fit into the Tucson community by spreading cash among many community support groups. Most recently Rosemont complained about the slow process (they hoped to be in construction by now) and complained the Pima County permitting process was biased and intentionally derailing their timeline and progress. They told the Feds they would appeal to Arizona's Dept of Environmental Quality! Given ADEQ's record of assists in Hayden for ASARCO, there is little doubt, their appeal will move forward and eventually be approved.
Augusta came to Arizona because of Rosemont's world class copper deposit, full of molybdenum and silver. This mine promises to be 10 per cent of U.S. Copper output and the corporation was energized by Arizona's "stable mining laws and a clear regulatory regime" Rosemont hopes to harvest a 7.7 billion pound copper source. Each year they hope to produce 221 million pounds of copper, along with another 4.7 million pounds of molybdenum and 2.4 million ounces of silver each year for over 20 years.Rosemont has a reserve of 190 million pounds of molybdenum, and 80 million ounces of silver. The project will require a $900 million capitol expenditure to start.
Rosemont issued an environmental report that uses the newest technology and the best practices of the industry, it sees no difficulties, clear sailing ahead and they plan to open a environmentally aware mining operation, the best the world has ever seen. Rosemont has no experience as miners, they have never done this before, so mistakes are always possible. One reader of their huge environmental impact study who followed each footnote to outside studies, reports their study is a smoke screen and makes little actual sense. Regardless of the environmental impact study, which the EPA called the worst they have ever reviewed–once you get past the tailing stacked in a scenic zone, the whole things boils down to water. Rosemont has identified groundwater and CAP Water as their principal water source. It is important to note the new mine lies in a drainage that feeds Tucson underground water aquifer. It feeds both the Pantano and Tanque Verde, both seasonal rivers that flow right through Tucson's fashionable East Side, and recharges our water table. Rosemont says their best practices will not allow contamination to Tucson water supply, it's a no brainer, they say. Google any copper mine towns in Arizona, goggle their water supply and they all are compromised. Rosemont promises they will work this mine for 50 years and they just want to be Tucson's best buddy. The mine will employ about the same number of (348) employees they hire for a couple of "big box stores", salaries may be better. History shows a "boom and bust" cycles with mines who have just walked away from environmental disasters or problems beyond their ability to fix. Don't believe an open pit won't contaminate our water, it is just a matter of when.
The first ore taken from the Morenci Mine were 80 per cent pure. The above Morenci photo was taken during a 1980′s Bust Cycle when everyone was fired and equipment idled waiting for the return of favorable copper prices. Rosemont Mine projects it will spend $900 million to build the Rosemont Complex and that is the same $900 million that will be required to clean up Clifton/Morenci after 162 years of toxic hardrock mining. Phelps Dodge was ordered to spend $1Billion to clean up the smelter in El Paso, opponents of the settlement say PD got off with pennies on the dollar and not a penny goes across the border to folks downwind for 100 years.< Does anyone really think Rosemont will be around when cleanup is needed. Historically, a property sells to someone who goes bankrupt and the taxpayer pays for the mess.
No one can anticipate Acts of God, Karma is always a big factor. So in 1979 when an earthen dam breached and spilled 1,100 tons of radioactive mill wastes and 90 million gallons of contaminated water into a tributary of the Little Colorado River or in 1984, when a flash flood washed tons of high grade uranium ore from Hack Canyon Mine into Kanab Creek. The Grand Canyon's Orphan Mine still continues to contaminate creeks, it produced 4.3 million pounds of some of the purest uranium ever found in the U.S. before closing in 1969. The Orphan Mine was declared a Superfund site by the EPA. The National Park Service warns backpackers along the Tonto Trail not to use water from either drainage. Another spill 30 years ago, occurred on July 19, 1979 when an earthen tailing dam near the United Nuclear Church Rock Uranium mine collapsed, spilling 90 million gallons of liquid radioactive waste and 1100 tons of solid mill wastes into the Rio Puerco River. The spill contaminated water, land and air at least 50 miles downstream into New Mexico and Arizona. It is believed more radiation was released in that spill than at the Three Mile Island nuclear accident, making the Church Rock spill a Superfund site and the largest release of radioactive waste ever in the U.S..
Spills happen and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission acknowledges that many toxic tailing have been washed into our region's waterways and collectively, these events have documented risks and offer harm to people's health. Drive through any Arizona copper town which are blighted and personal property values decline dramatically. If no drinking water is found outside grocery stores or water stations good luck selling your house. The Central Arizona Project taps the Colorado River which provides 26 million people throughout the Southwest with drinking water. Last year, Lake Mead water levels stood within 50 feet of water restrictions which will hit Tucson first, hit Las Vegas hardest and be a major inconvenience to California. Rosemont Mine lies at the end of that pipeline. Green Valley groundwater levels already suffering with an annual water deficit withdraw without adding another copper mine which takes the same water that another 25,000 residents need. Population growth will easily fulfill that need, and all water use adds up and it is a finite resource. Rosemont proposes to recharge the aquifer from various sources and the newest estimates are the Rio Colorado could be dry by 2020
"Strong demand for growth out of China, India, Brazil and Russia, with a struggling supply response", was the all the motivation needed for Wildcat Silver Corporation, a Canadian-based mining company, to step up their Patagonia exploration. Wildcat wants to conduct extensive exploratory drilling on Forest land near Patagonia to map out a plan to construct an open-pit mine near Harshaw. Wildcat's Hermosa project, also called the Hardshell project, involves an area six miles east of Patagonia along the Harshaw Road. The Wildcat Silver Corporation could bring in $99 million annually in profits if it gets state and federal approval. Wildcat will spend $337 million to build the project. Each year for 18 years, the mine plans to mine 4.1 million ounces of silver, about 256,000 tons of a manganese compound, about 22,200 tons of zinc and about 1,050 tons of copper from Southern Arizona.
Harshaw was a large community with a large Catholic Church
this was the Harshaw Mill in 1879
Wildcat will dig a 600-foot-deep open pit, and then mine at least 1,800 feet underground to collect minerals too deep for the pit. The mine's water needs will dramatically draw on the aquifer pulling down 720,000 gallons of groundwater daily. Large ore trucks will dramatically change driving up and down the Harshaw Road, a narrow winding mountain road winding through Scrub Oak, Juniper Forest which has access to the old mining towns left behind the last time this good idea went bad. Patagonia folks sound scared. Few say jobs, most say goodbye to their way of life., Patagonia was once called "Arizona's best kept secret", the village's residents believe what they know now, will be no longer……
The Tombstone Exploration Company holds the largest chunk, 11,863 acres, of Tombstone's historical mining District. In March TEC received approval for State Exploration Permits for minerals, including gold, silver and copper in the eastern edge of the Tombstone, the additional permits, approved, doubles their existing holdings. Study of the mineral content of the Tombstone Mining District show a wide assortment of mineralization including silver, gold, copper, lead, and zinc minerals, along with manganese, tellurium, molybdenum, and vanadium. Although Tombstone is famous for bonanza silver deposits it is essentially a precious-metal district. Alan Brown, President of Tombstone, states, "With prices for metals at historic high levels, the time to move aggressively forward is now. We are currently planning exploration and a drill program for the Zebra property."
BISBEE HAD A OPEN PIT IN THE CENTER OF THE COMMUNITY FOR OVER A 100 YEARS. MAYBE WE TAKE GIVE TOURS OF THE OPEN PIT OR FLOOD IT AND WATER SKI ON TUCSON SOUTHEAST SIDE.
Further down the Harshaw Road a large group of mines with over 80 existing claims covering 1,600 acres extends beyond Washington, Az on the north and to about a mile west and southwest of Duquesne, Az on the south. It is owned chiefly by the Duquesne Mining & Reduction Co. of Pittsburgh, PA, with local headquarters at Duquesne, and the reduction plant at Washington. Duquesne and Washington Camp were once thriving mining camps and at one point both were busy places, now they are ghost towns.
The Johnson Camp Mine in Cochise County
The Johnson Camp property is 65 miles east of Tucson in Cochise County. The Johnson Camp mine, is an open pit copper mine and production facility using solvent extraction. Johnson Camp includes two existing open pits, the Burro and Copper Chief bulk mining pits which are expected to produce 25 million pounds of copper cathodes annually over a mine life of 13 years. Recently it idled to build a new leaching facility but hopes to mine in 2012.
Wildcat Silver recently withdrew a contested request for 15 exploratory drill holes, saying they now wish to drill 176 exploratory holes on claims on public land in the Patagonia Mountains.
HARSHAW CREEK DRILL AREA
The corporation needs to map the silver content lying underneath nine square miles of Shrub Oak Woodlands. The corporation has recently doubled it estimates from 123 million ounces to 271 million for the future Hermosa Mine which is expected to be in the top 25% of all silver mines in the world.
At its peak in the 1880s and 1890s, Harshaw's was once considered scenic, it was surrounded by oak forests, lush pastures, and had enough pure mountain water to run the mill and work the ore. Today, Harshaw Creek is lined with sycamores, cottonwoods, and willows which are typical foliage in more arid riparian zones. While Harshaw Creek still flows, they are no longer as pure as a 100 years ago. Recent water studies according to Wikipedia have found high levels of copper and zinc, as well as high acidity in the creek. While many factors contribute to this pollution, mining and milling residue from waste dumps are the most significant source. The abandoned Endless Chain Mine, near the headwaters of Harshaw Creek, is one of the biggest contributing factors to the pollution.
Finally, a letter from the Arizona Game & Fish Department says damage will occur no matter what the federal government and the mine's developer do to compensate for its effects."We believe that the project will render the northern portion of the Santa Rita Mountains virtually worthless as wildlife habitat and as a functioning ecosystem, and thus also worthless for wildlife recreation," said the letter, written by the habitat program manager for the Tucson office. "Furthermore, the project has great potential to impact wildlife and habitat off the forest." The letter was among up to 4,000 public comments the U.S. Forest Service received on the 4,400-acre Rosemont Mine.
Are we heading down a path we might regret in the future?" YES, is the obvious answer! Is there anything we can do about it? NO, once a valid claim is made there is no legal authority to stop it. Mining law elevates mining above all other uses of federal land and contains no environmental protection.
Tucson will have a new open pit, Hwy 83 beloved for its drive in the countryside winding through the mountain pass opening up to the Santa Rita foothills, will be changed forever. This is no small price that Southern Arizona is paying, this is a crown jewel, and it will not stop here. If we don't throw out the carpetbaggers who sell their vote to big corporations allegedly for support, this will never stop, in fact get used to it-this is just the beginning.
This ASARCO Mine lies in the foothills of the Silverbell Mountains and shows by example how a mine in the Santa Rita Foothills would change the land forever.
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