Processing Magazine

Toxic Nevada Mine Lawsuit Seeks $5 Million from BP, ARCO

February 16, 2011

The Associated Press reports that neighbors of a toxic mine in northern Nevada have filed a class-action lawsuit against BP America and Atlantic Richfield Co. accusing them of intentionally and negligently concealing the extent of the contamination leaking off the abandoned site for decades. The suit filed in U.S. District Court in Reno on Monday seeks a minimum of $5 million on behalf of at least 100 residents in the rural town of Yerington where the old Anaconda copper mine opened in 1941. The plaintiffs say the wells they once used for drinking water are polluted with uranium, arsenic and other metals in a plume of groundwater that slowly has migrated off of the site that covers 6-square miles — an area equal to the size of about 3,000 football fields — about 65 miles southeast of Reno. The lawsuit says that even after whistleblowers started to publicize previously secret records documenting the dangers, the corporations refused to cooperate with state and federal regulators trying to clean up the radioactive and other hazardous waste the past 10 years.