Modified: July 26, 2020 4:09pm
Erie County Legislature Government Affairs Committee discusses plan for the future and continued remediation of former industrial site
Tonawanda, NY – Legislator Kevin Hardwick hosted a discussion at the Legislature’s July 16th Government Affairs Committee meeting concerning the remediation and clean up of the former Tonawanda Coke site. The discussion featured questions and discussion from multiple stakeholders involved in the New York State Brownfield designation and remedial clean-up plan including NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Town of Tonawanda, and the site’s new owner.
A long-time resident of the City of Tonawanda and representative for the fourth Legislative District, Hardwick remarked that the residents of this district owe a debt of gratitude to citizen activists who called attention to and started soil testing on their own many years before Tonawanda Coke executives were found guilty of committing federal environmental crimes and then abandoned the site and filed for bankruptcy.
Legislator Hardwick stated, “I was happy to welcome the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Clean Air Coalition along with representatives for the Environmental Protection Agency, the Town of Tonawanda, and concerned citizens to the committee to discuss a very personal and important topic to the people of Tonawanda. Their candor and dedication to this project are unmatched in most other community issues I’ve dealt with in my tenure at the Legislature, and I’m confident our community can move forward with healing and resolving these issues so long as we can continue to have open, transparent dialogue. I am also grateful we have a situation where the developer is willing to properly conduct the clean-up necessary to ensure a safe environment for residents.”
Legislator Lisa Chimera, a former Town of Tonawanda councilmember and the vice chair of the Legislature’s Government Affairs committee echoed his sentiments. “So many of us have personally been affected by the pollution left behind from the egregious practices of Tonawanda Coke management that it seems like there will never truly be a resolution. But I know our community and everyone involved can and will move forward with a renewed sense of commitment to making this area the best place to live after hearing the productive dialogue from today’s session,” Chimera said.
Town of Tonawanda Councilman William Conrad shared his remarks with the Legislature. Conrad has served as a member of the Clean Air Coalition for many years, and stated, “The Town of Tonawanda expects and demands that Tonawanda Coke clean up the mess they made. Our community, like all across this state, deserves clean waterways and a safe environment for our children to grow up in. The town has had meetings with multiple stakeholders including former and current site owners Honeywell and Riverview Innovations. We will continue to advance this work and aggressively pursue action on this site.”
A resolution was unanimously adopted by the full Legislature that will serve as a public comment for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) remedial investigation work plan which called for the formation of a community advisory group similar to those assembled by the Environmental Protection agency. Comments are accepted through July 31st on the NYSDEC website.