Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Communities

February 17, 2014

DEC proposal to reduce air monitoring devices raising worries with local group

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — TONAWANDA — A proposal by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation that would potentially reduce the number of air monitors in the state has raised a red flag with a local environmental group, the Clean Air Coalition, which is credited with uncovering egregious air quality violations at the Tonawanda Coke plant on River Road. 

The statement, released last week by DEC Commissioner Joe Martens, indicated that a recent proposal tendered by the state government’s top environmental watchdog would consider the removal of some of New York’s roughly 80 monitors in cases where there are also onsite industrial monitors. 

“While these environmental monitoring services are an important management tool to ensure the protection of public health and the environment, environmental monitors do not replace DEC staff,” Martens said. “They are used where circumstances warrant an added level of oversight.”

But Erin Heaney, executive director of the Clean Air Coalition, said it was the installation of four air monitors in 2007 near the Tonawanda Coke plant that helped uncover the release of high benzene levels and other toxins into the surrounding area, even as DEC employees conducted direct oversight of the plant for more than two decades. 

The plant’s former environmental manager faces a lengthy prison sentence and the plant owner J.D. Crane may have to pay up to $200 million in fines when he’s sentenced next month in federal court for widespread violations of the Clean Air Act. 

Two air monitors remain near the Grand Island Bridge as well as the Brookside Terrace neighborhood in Tonawanda, while 52 industrial sites in a 2-square mile area continue to emit dangerously high levels of toxins into the air, Heaney said. 

Heaney, who had not yet seen the report when interviewed, said while the statement released by Martens doesn’t specifically mention a reductions in air monitors in the Buffalo area, including one near the Peace Bridge and another in the vicinity of the Galleria Mall, it does appear to clash with public interest. 

Text Only
Communities
Featured Ads
Photos


Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Front page
AP Video
Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase
Seasonal Content
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase
Seasonal Content
Helium debate
Helium
Section Teases

Seasonal Content
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.