EARTHWORKS

ASARCO Bankruptcy To Leave U.S. Taxpayers With Billion Dollar Clean-Up Bill

August 10, 2005

Government Will Be Left With Responsibility of Cleaning Up Polluted Sites in Many Western States

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 08/10/2005

Washington, D.C. -- The mining company ASARCO, a subsidiary of the Mexican corporation Grupo Mexico S.A. de C.V, declared bankruptcy today, leaving taxpayers and western communities the potential for footing the bill for decades of environmental damage.  ASARCO owns mining and smelting operations all over the West.  According to an 8/10/05 Reuters News article, ASARCO estimates that its environmental liabilities could exceed $1billion.  The companycited these liabilities as one of the main reasons for the declaration of bankruptcy.

ASARCO's bankruptcy could leave a landscape of polluted sites across the West for federal, state and local governments to clean up. For example:

"Communities and the taxpayers are the ones that suffer when mining companies go belly up," said Roger Featherstone, Southwest Circuit Rider for EARTHWORKS. "In a time of record copper prices it is appalling that a mining company could leave such a devastating legacy for so many communities in the West. ASARCO has chosen to cut and run instead of taking care of its responsibilities to workers and the environment."

In 2003, the Department of Justice (DOJ) asked a federal district court in Washington, DC to issue a temporary restraining order to prevent ASARCO from selling off its assets. The DOJ was worried that the company was attempting to liquidate its assets in order to declare bankruptcy and leave their environmental liabilities behind.

"The fact that a single mining company is responsible for so many highly contaminated mining sites illustrates the inadequacy of our federal mining laws," said Bonnie Gestring, Northwest circuit rider for EARTHWORKS.  "We need mining laws that provide financial accountability, stricter enforcement provisions, and concrete environmental protection standards."

The 1872 Mining Law remains essentially the same today as it was when it was enacted 130 years ago under President Ulysses S. Grant. Real and meaningful reform of the 1872 Mining Law could have prevented some of this environmental damage. 

 

# # #


For more information:

Press clips:

Contacts:

Tagged with: taxpayers, mining, bankruptcy, abandoned mines

Recent News

Aug 25 | Dallas Morning News | Marissa Barnett
Lawmakers hope to fund monitors for quakes in North Texas fracking areas
Aug 25 | Prairie Public | Jordan Wirfs-Brock and Leigh Paterson
Inside Energy: Fracking and health, part 1
Aug 22 | National Journal | Clare Foran and Stephanie Stamm
Watch Six Months of Fracking Fires Blaze Across the Country

On Twitter

Value of #Bakken flared #natgas would pay for #solar in every Fargo, ND household | @prairiepublic bit.ly/1q4RopG #fracking
Longmont City Council unanimously votes to appeal judge's #fracking ban decision | @TKindelspireTC in @TimesCall bit.ly/1q4Snq4

On Facebook