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Environmental Justice and Community Partnerships

Regional Programs: U.S.-Mexico Border Environmental Justice Program


The Rio Grande between El Paso, Texas and Ciudad
Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico.

When you drive into central El Paso, Texas, you can't miss the huge smokestack towering over the city, painted with the letters A-S-A-R-C-O. The American Smelting and Refining Company (ASARCO) lead and copper smelter has held that place for more than a century.

Five minutes from downtown El Paso and just across the Rio Grande from Ciudad Juárez—which together form the largest border metropolitan area in the world—ASARCO emitted hundreds of tons of lead, arsenic, and cadmium onto surrounding homes, schools, and businesses from 1887-1999.

The ASARCO smelter is now poised to smelt again and release even more toxins into the area. ASARCO has already made too many of Juárez and El Paso's children sick with lead poisoning. Area families need a safe environment that is free of lead.

That is why the Sierra Club has been leading the charge to keep the smelter closed and to hold ASARCO accountable for its environmental and public health abuses.

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