Briefs on ASARCO Case
by NPT Staff
Posted on February 14, 2005
In 2002, ASARCO Incorporated applied for a renewal of their air permit for the copper smelter in El Paso, a request that they argue is a routine administrative procedure under state regulations, as no increase in emissions was sought. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), in the public interest, made an exception and granted a contested case hearing for the determination of whether ASARCO's permit should be renewed. The preliminary hearing that determined the rules for and the parties to the contested case hearing was held on January 27, 2005 at UTEP. Upon TCEQ's initial referral to contested case hearing, however, ASARCO filed a lawsuit in Austin to question TCEQ's authority to make such a referral. The following documents are from the record of the 261st District Court in Austin. These documents provide the arguments of both ASARCO and the TCEQ, in relation to TCEQ's referral. In addition, the City of El Paso has become an intervenor in this case, and the City's arguments have now also become part of the record.
The previous issue of NPT provided various filings, including ASARCO's original petition and brief (part 1, part 2, part 3), TCEQ's original answer, the City of El Paso's original petition in intervention, and an amicus brief from a law student association in Wisconsin. The documents included below focus on the arguments of each party and therefore include the TCEQ's brief, the City of El Paso's brief and ASARCO's reply brief. Future installments shall include additional amicus briefs from additional outside parties, including the Association of Electric Companies of Texas, the Texas Association of Business, the Texas Chemical Council and the Texas Oil and Gas Association.
These documents are presented as a matter of public record; more will follow as the ongoing case unfolds:
More than 50 countries worldwide have Freedom of Information Acts. The United States has long protected a citizen’s right to access governmental records that don’t jeopardize national security. In Texas, the Public Information Act (PIA) mimics the national Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Open records requests made through the City of El Paso are allowed for under the PIA. Newspaper Tree will regularly post documents on topics relevant to El Pasoans, in the belief that access to such information is protected and helpful to citizens in their political decision-making.
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