Air-permit request stirs debate in El Paso-Juárez


The towering chimneys of the American Smelting and Refining Company (Asarco) in El Paso, long a landmark on this stretch of the U.S.-Mexican border, haven’t seen use since world copper prices nosedived in 1999, prompting Asarco to suspend operations. With copper prices rebounding, however, the company is trying to renew its Texas state air quality permit so it can restart production. The request has prompted one of the biggest border-area environmental fights since local residents rallied successfully against plans for a low-level nuclear waste dump in Sierra Blanca, Texas, in the late 1990s. Under a draft permit renewal filed with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), Asarco seeks permission to emit up to 7,000 tons of sulfur dioxide, 350 tons of... [Log in to read more]

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