Tacoma,WA. -"...Lawyers in Texas mailed notices to potential Asarco claimants this week. They also bought advertisements in newspapers nationwide, including The News Tribune. Asarco petitioned for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in August 2005. The company seeks to discharge more than $1 billion in environmental cleanup obligations, including responsibility for the Superfund site where its Tacoma copper smelter once stood. State and federal officials blame the company for environmental contamination at 94 sites in 21 states...'If you don’t respond to this, you’ll be excluded,' Zerbel said. He also called his lawyer. For Zerbel and other parties to the class-action suit settled in 1995, a claim for about $1.2 million still owed by Asarco has been filed, Seattle lawyer Eileen Concannon said Wednesday. So householders who lived within two miles of the smelter when the suit was settled need not file another claim. It’s unclear how many notices were mailed to individuals such as Zerbel...While the biggest creditors have hired lawyers to do the work, that doesn’t rule out claims by individuals, including householders who believe Asarco is responsible for contaminating their property, he said. 'Anybody with any sort of claim no matter how remote should file a proof of claim,' Cullen said. 'You don’t necessarily need a lawyer to do that but have to make sure it’s filled out correctly. They will challenge it. They want to play hardball.'...Lawyers have filed more than 85,000 asbestos exposure-related claims worth an estimated $500 million against Asarco or its subsidiaries...The bankruptcy court claims do not directly affect a Lacey developer’s plans for 67 acres where the smelter stood. MC Construction’s bid for the property has been approved by the bankruptcy court judge. But it is still being reviewed by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, which oversees the cleanup. About $45 million in remediation remains to be done on the smelter site and in surrounding neighborhoods... Bankruptcy court claims against Asarco must be submitted to The Trumbull Group, a claims administrator: P.O. Box 721, Windsor, CT 06095-0721. For more information, call (860) 687-3174. The required bankruptcy forms, called 'proof of claim,' are available at Tacoma’s federal courthouse, 1717 Pacific Ave. The telephone number is (253) 593-6310. Forms also are available at www.txs.uscourts.gov/Bkcyforms/bankruptcy.htm."
Published: May 11th, 2006 01:00 AM