Page 36


,TP FREE PRESS OM :7.4.tWi’l . flow Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market. and. Why Liberals Should. Too 11 he redator State James K. G-alinith Author oftivatoll.:uraprd./ waiting for a cleanup. For almost a century, the Asarco smelter near downtown El Paso belched lead, arsenic, and other contaminants over schools, businesses, and family homes. The EPA lists lead and arsenic among the most dangerous pollutants that can cause numerous human health problems. Closed in 1999 because of dwindling copper prices, the 828-foot high smokestack looms like a slumbering giant over the city. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality estimates it will cost $52 million to demolish the smelter, remove the contaminated soil, and monitor and treat polluted groundwater surrounding the plant, according to agency records. Two months after Larrea’s testimony, on August 30, Judge Hanen issued his ruling in the lawsuit over the Peruvian mines. In a 190-page opinion, he agreed with the plaintiffs on three of their charges. He wrote that Grupo Mexico had fraudulently transferred Asarco’s majority share in the Southern Peru Copper Corp. to another Grupo Mexico subsidiary. Hanen also ruled that the mining corporation had conspired to transfer the stock at an artificially low price that had robbed Asarco’s long line of creditors. Hanen described the transfer of the stock as designed “to leave a cash-starved Asarco with less cash.” Houston lawyer Iry Terrell, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, said negotiations over damages would start October 30. “I feel great about the judge’s ruling,” Terrell said. “We’ve won in three different ways. We’ve got the belt, suspenders and another pair of suspenders holding up our case.” Terrell said that the plaintiffs would ask for $5 billion to $6 billion compensation for the Peru mines’ stock. It’s not yet Under the stewardship of exceedingly rich men, the company earned enormous profits while its industrial processes poisoned poor com munities in nearly two dozen states. clear how much of that money Larrea and Grupo Mexico will have to pay, or how much of it will go toward environmental cleanups. Larrea and Grupo Mexico have said they will appeal the damages and possibly take their case to the U.S. Supreme Court. The company also has said it will fight to regain control of Asarco. “We will not stop until we get back what is ours,” Jorge Lazalde, the vice president for Grupo Mexico’s Asarco Inc. told the International Herald Tribune in June. “We are going to do absolutely everything necessary. Larrea has more motivation now to win back control of A funny thing happened on the bridge to the twenty-first century. ‘The renowned economist dissects the stale remains of Reaganomics to reveal how America and the Republican party have been hijackedand what liberals must do to take back our economy. “Shows how to break the spell that conservatives have cast —josEpH E. STIGLITZ, 2001 Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences OCTOBER 31, 2008 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 11