Issue 7: March 25, 2020

ASARCO Fined for Violating Settlement with EPA 

In a news release last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said that it received $33,000 in stipulated penalties from ASARCO LLC for not complying with a fugitive dust plan central to a 2015 settlement for violations of the federal Clean Air Act. 

The dust plan is designed to address the release of lead, coarse dust, and other hazardous air pollutants at ASARCO’s Hayden copper smelter. 

“Controlling fugitive dust is critical to minimizing hazardous air pollutants in nearby communities,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Director of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Amy Miller. “EPA will continue holding companies accountable for complying with the terms of settlements reached with the agency.” 

Wind-blown dust from the facility has been found to contain lead and other hazardous pollutants. 

Managing fugitive dust in the area is particularly important because the area does not meet health-based air quality standards for coarse dust and airborne lead. 

Under the settlement’s dust plan, ASARCO is required to operate water sprayer systems at various sites to abate fugitive dust emissions. After reviewing ASARCO’s records, EPA identified 33 days during which water was not sprayed on certain required fugitive dust sources. 

Under the terms of the 2015 settlement, ASARCO is liable for $1,000 each day the water sprayers were not operating, resulting in $33,000 in stipulated penalties. 

Our unions are grateful that the government enforcement agencies aren’t letting management get away with operating in violation of its agreement, and it’s why we are committed to continue holding ASARCO accountable—for our families, our communities and future generations. 

Stay HEALTHY, SAFE and UNITED! Solidarity is our strength! 

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