Dismantling of border smelter spurs toxics debate


If all goes as planned, a controversial icon of U.S.-Mexican border history will come tumbling down in 30 seconds. That’s how long Roberto Puga estimates it will take two giant smokestacks of El Paso’s American Smelting and Refining Company (Asarco) to collapse after demolition charges are detonated in early 2012. Puga’s company, Project Navigator, is overseeing the removal of the two remaining stacks (it already has taken down a third) and cleaning up contamination from heavy metals, asbestos and other toxins at the 458-acre site. The project marks the culmination of one of the border region’s higher-profile—and longest-running—industrial-pollution sagas. For decades, Asarco’s emissions blackened the sky and drew complaints on both sides of the border about foul odors... [Log in to read more]

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