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The fox isn’t guarding the henhouse…

The fox has paid the farmer to leave the henhouse unlocked. That’s how this system works.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MERCURY STORM BREWING IN GULF OF MEXICO

LAVACA BAY, TX, June 22, 2006 –/WORLD-WIRE/– Calhoun County fishermen, environmental activists, and concerned Calhoun County residents say state and federal agencies were in collusion with Alcoa over the mercury cleanup in Lavaca Bay. They say the recent December 2004 settlement between U.S., Texas, and Alcoa over the Lavaca Bay Mercury Superfund not only failed in its attempt to address the health impacts of mercury on the mostly poor minority fishing communities, but it also under-estimated the amount of mercury released to the environment and therefore the cleanup.

Sediments in Lavaca Bay were contaminated with mercury from past operations at Alcoa’s Point Comfort, Texas facility. From l967 until l979 Alcoa operated a chlor-alkali processing unit at the plant and discharged wastewater containing mercury into Lavaca Bay.

Federal EPA documents state that Alcoa discharged an average of 67 pounds per day into Lavaca Bay from l967 until 1970. Internal and confidential Alcoa documents and transcripts uncovered from a 1994 court case in Washington between Alcoa and their insurers estimated l,223,755 pounds of mercury was released between l967 to l979 and that on a 5 day normal working period in the chlor-alkali unit, 1500 pounds of mercury was lost and flow charts showed mercury going to the bay.

Diane Wilson, founder of Calhoun County Resource Watch who coordinated the meeting in Port Lavaca, said, “We need an explanation for the hundreds of thousands of pounds difference between what was reported in documents recovered in a court vault in Washington and what federal EPA superfund documents say was dumped. Was there collusion? Then, too, explain to me a memo that showed Alcoa and a Texas A & M scientist considering a study to show the mercury levels in crabs from Lavaca Bay by ‘blending’ them with clean crabs from another bay.”

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