Blackwell Files Suit Against Mining Company

Blackwell files a lawsuit against Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold, Inc.
Blackwell accuses the company of failing to clean up lead, cadmium, arsenic and zinc contamination left behind by the Blackwell Zinc Smelter, which operated in the town from 1916 until 1974.
The Blackwell Zinc Smelter was operated by a company now owned by Freeport-McMoRan.
A allegations made by the city:
— Toxic levels of cadmium and zinc have polluted the community’s groundwater, and the polluted waters are migrating in a southeasterly direction beneath the city
· The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) has determined it is not feasible to treat the contaminated groundwater, which will remain a source of pollution “for generations”
— Toxins have been found in surface waters that drain into the nearby Chikaskia River
— The smelter owners openly provided contaminated slag and other toxic materials to the City and its residents for use in construction projects, rather than properly treating and/or disposing of these materials
— Lead, cadmium, arsenic, and zinc associated with the defendants’ operation of the smelter have been found in soils on property owned by the City and its residents
— Much of this contaminated soil will not be cleaned up as part of the defendants’ current cleanup efforts
— The defendants have “undertaken a strategy to downplay the scope and impacts of the groundwater contamination,” have attempted “to mislead the community as to the seriousness of the harm,” and “have encouraged the City to be complicit in their efforts,” portraying themselves as “good neighbors” to City officials and residents
A class action lawsuit relating to the same contamination was filed In Kay County, Oklahoma, by a group of Blackwell residents in April 2008. For more information about that legal action, see cleanupblackwell.com.



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