Atlantic Richfield is trying to detach itself from legal and fiscal involvement in the Mike Horse Dam removal, a newspaper reported Tuesday. Lawyers for Atlantic Richfield also known by the acronym Arco say in documents filed in U. S. Bankruptcy Court in Texas that a three-year federal and two-year state statute of limitations for claims ran out long ago. Atlantic Richfield further claims that under the Clean Water Act, only the current facility owners and operators can be held liable for natural resource damages, the Independent Record said. The lawyers note that Atlantic Richfield “relinquished all property interest and ceased all mineral exploration activities at the site more than 25 years ago.” And Arco’s lawyers argue the bankruptcy court doesn’t have jurisdiction in deciding the company’s potential liability to the state regarding natural resource damages. Robin Bul lock, Arco’s Montana manager, did not immediately return phone calls Tuesday from The Associated Press seeking comment on the situation. The filings are part of the ongoing Chapter 11 bankruptcy case of another company, Asarco, and U.S. Forest Service effort to remove the defunct Mike Horse Mine 15 miles east of Lincoln. Asarco owns the Mike Horse Mine and the mothballed East Helena lead smelter, as well as other properties throughout the nation, and is trying to reorganize and emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which it filed for in August 2005. As part of the proceedings, Asarco is trying to ascertain its o u t s ta n d i n g d e b t s and environmental liabilities. One of those liabilities involves the Mike Horse Dam east of Lincoln in the Upper Blackfoot Mining Complex. In July, Regional Forester Tom Tidwell announced plans to remove the dam and encapsulate the earthen impoundment, as we l l a s o t h e r n e a r by contaminated mill tailings and materials, at an estimated cost of $26.7 million. Past efforts have focused on getting Asarco to foot the bulk of the bill, but Atlantic Richfield also has been named as a potentially responsible party by state and federal officials. Asarco’s Mike Horse Mine is slightly southwest of the dam and allegedly contributed to the contamination in and around it. The land on which the Mike Horse Dam sits is part of the Helena National Forest’s Lincoln Ranger District.