The American Smelting and Refining Company will pay $1.79 billion to the United States government to settle allegations involving and their involvement in hazardous waste pollution in 19 states.
This case involving the mining company is among the nation’s leading environmental bankruptcy settlements. The money that will be paid out will come from Grupo Mexico, Asarco’s parent affiliation, and will be put towards repairing any damage caused by the mining company’s operations. Asarco, a 110-year-old copper company based in Tucson, was accused of gross environmental misconduct at numerous sites, including illegally burning hazardous waste instead of disposing of it properly, and as a result, lead and other toxic metals traveled downstream, polluting water and soil in many places. The settlement disbursement will pay for cleanup and restoration of the land that was contaminated.