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December 11, 2013

Attorney expected to be retained

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Although official action is at least a month away, it looks as if the environmental attorney who has been working to fight Chemical Waste Management’s bid to expand its Porter landfill will be retained by Niagara County.

The Niagara County Legislature’s Administration Committee met with Allegany attorney Gary Abraham on Tuesday evening. Abraham has been the lawyer retained by the county and the Town of Lewiston in their legal battle with CWM since 2004.

A resolution calling for the extension of Abraham’s retainer was referred in October by county lawmakers to the committee. Members of the Republican-led majority said then the referral was needed to give them an opportunity to meet with Abraham and discuss his ongoing work.

After speaking with Abraham, the committee went into a 45-minute closed-door executive session to talk costs and legal strategy.

Following Tuesday’s meeting, Legislator Clyde Burmaster, R-Ransomville said he believes the county and town can work together in a united front. One of the items being addressed is the lack of a formal agreement between Lewiston and Niagara County. Lawmakers will receive six-months updates as well.

“We had a good meeting,” Burmaster said. “There are some improvements that can be made on the resolution. But we will put the money in. We’ll pursue this as soon as we can put the proper wording together. There’s been a solid relationship between us and I’m sure we will continue seamlessly.”

Work on amending the resolution will begin immediately. Legislature Chairman Bill Ross, C-Wheatfield, said he hopes for an agreement to be in place within a month.

Lewiston has already agreed to pay its $50,000 share, ensuring Abraham will keep working over the next few months. CWM’s application for the landfill expansion is nearing completion, Abraham said.

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