Friday, January 1, 2010
Asarco Pays Off. Who?
"After a four-year legal battle, a mining company has paid the government a record $1.79 billion to settle claims for hazardous waste pollution across 19 states, federal agencies announced Thursday. ... The money, received Wednesday night from a subsidiary of the mining conglomerate Grupo Mexico, Asarco's parent, will be used to repair extensive damage from the mining operations. ... The deal required the coopoeration of the Justice, Interior and Agriculture Departments as well as the Environmental Protection Agency. At the new conference, officials were jubilant about the outcome. ... Jack Kinzie, a lawyer at the firm Baker Botts who was the lead lawyer for Asarco in the bankruptcy case, called the settlement 'fair.' But in a statement in June, the firm said it had been able to limit the allowed claims against the copper giant to substantially less than the $3.6 billion originally filed", my emphasis, Leslie Kaufman at the NYT, 11 December 2009, link: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/11/science/earth/11settle.html.
This is appalling. Another DOJ sellout of the public interest. Why were these officals jubilant? Because of the $1.79 billion they collected, or the $1.81 billion they didn't? $1.81 billion will buy a lot of NY BigLaw partnerships.