Look like the taxpayer gets left holding the bag again at your Asarco superfund site. The company made hay and profits only to leave a mess. It happens all the time and the Market never does anything to stop it from happening. In fact, some people say that the market promotes such behavior.
From the EPA Superfund FAQ on Asarco…
Who is responsible for the environmental cleanup at the former Asarco Tacoma Smelter?
Asarco and Point Ruston have both signed onto a Consent Decree with the United States to perform cleanup work at the Asarco Smelter site. Asarco is currently in bankruptcy, and the United States has claims pending against Asarco in the bankruptcy.
How much will the cleanup cost start to finish?
The estimate for cleanup that Point Ruston is conducting is $28 million. EPA will receive up to $5 million over time from the sale of the site, which will be used for the parts of the cleanup that Point Ruston is not responsible for (cleanup of the yacht basin and Ruston/North Tacoma yards.) In addition, EPA is reimbursed for all of its project costs including salaries, contractor support, and other costs related to overseeing the cleanup work done by Point Ruston.