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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Asarco's unlikely boon to the environment - from Crosscut.com

Crosscut.com author Daniel Jack Chasan reports there that "$10.8 million [of the Asarco bankruptcy settlement] will be used to clean up Monte Cristo and other old mining sites in northwest and eastern Washington." Those sites include Holden and Azurite mines as well, deep in the heart of the North Cascades, surrounded by wilderness. Diligence will be required to assure that the mine cleanup operations in the North Cascades are done in ways that do not do further harm to the sensitive environments there. Also, it's a good reminder to do everything we can to seek changes to the 1872 Mining Law that permitted (or you might say even encouraged) these environmental disasters.

The Asarco bankruptcy boon resulted from a remarkable stroke of serendipity -- the price of copper went up as Asarco was reaching a final bankruptcy settlement, and rather than "a few pennies on the dollar," the settlement became, just at the end of last year...
the biggest environmental bankruptcy settlement in U.S. history: $1.79 billion. "This is literally a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," [Kevin Rochlin of the EPA] says. "We are all pinching ourselves."
Read the full story of the settlement at: http://crosscut.com/2010/02/18/science-environment/19603/

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