Asarco demolition opposition group still fighting to stop process
POSTED: Thursday, April 11, 2013 - 9:17pm
UPDATED: Saturday, April 13, 2013 - 4:01pm
Citing professional opinion claiming process unsafe
El Paso, TX — Demolition day is almost here, but at least one local group is still scrambling to stop the demolition. El Paso Aware is still collecting petitions for what they say is an unsafe and hazardous demolition process.
While many are trying to scope out the best location to watch the stacks come down, theres one man, part of that group, who's planning to get out of town. Robert Ardovino, an active member of the group opposing the demolition, has been vocal about his disagreement with the decision to tear down the Asarco stacks.
"So iconic and so different. It's really unfortunate," says Ardovino.
So he plans on leaving town this weekend.
"I'm just not interested in seeing the circus," said Ardovino.
The stacks, he says, are something that sets El Paso a part from the rest.
"It's a low spot for El Paso's history I think. We have a chance to kinda preserve something that's definitely different in the world," said Ardovino.
But he's also concerned that Robert Puga, the sites trustee, hasn't done enough studies to prove that tearing down the stacks and burying the materials above a water source, is safe.
"We have to drink this water for the rest of our lives. We know they burned hazardous wastes. He's (Puga) saying there isn't any evidence. Well he didn't take a single sample over a hundred feet," said Ardovino.
As NewsChannel Nine reported, Puga took three core samples of the stacks to test and did find some materials including asbestos, but not enough to be alarmed.
On the website Recasting the Smelter.com, Robert Puga has posted all of the completed studies and communication from Environmental Protection Agency, but still some are not convinced.
An environmental engineer and chemist, part of the opposition group, wrote letters to the EPA , stating those core samples are not enough to provide a complete picture of what is in the stacks. They add for the tallest stack at 828 feet, 88% of it hasn't been tested, and materials react differently and stick throughout the stack, not just up to 100 feet.
"We're just not getting satisfactory answers from the EPA," said Ardovino.
The opposition group says these are basic questions that should have been answered and made public long before the demolition plan was set. The EPA has not responded to the most recent letters from the chemist and environmental engineer. The El Paso Aware group will gather at the County Attorney's office tomorrow afternoon to get answers to their long awaited questions about a possible injunction.