Tag: Environment

Feb 20

2022

‘Completely stupid’ burning of toxins

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A Niagara Falls waste incineration plant burned almost 13 tons of firefighting foam over a three-year period, potentially releasing into the air and water insidious toxins linked in studies to infertility, birth defects, developmental disorders, compromised immune systems and cancer.  When questioned by state officials, Covanta Niagara at first denied it. Eventually, the company admitted burning “a small amount” of the material — aqueous film-forming foam, or AFFF — but claimed it didn’t know what it was burning. “That is not a small amount,” said David Bond, a Bennington College professor who fought to stop a waste incinerator doing the[...]

Posted 12 months ago

Jan 19

2022

Enck: Test for “forever chemicals”

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A former top EPA official is calling for the monitoring of members of Buffalo’s Burmese community because of their consumption of fish contaminated with so-called “forever chemicals.” Judith Enck is responding to an Investigative Post story published in September. The story, ‘More Danger Lurking in the Water,” covered a state and federal study of fishermen who eat their local catches.  All of the fishermen tested had elevated levels of the toxin known as PFOS, one in a class of chemicals known as PFAS, but the highest were found in Burmese citizens, who make up one of Western New York’s largest immigrant[...]

Posted 1 year ago

Jan 17

2022

Ortt’s failing environmental report card

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Few in the state Legislature protect the environment as poorly as Senate Minority Leader Robert Ortt, according to one leading ecological advocacy group. Environmental Advocates Action gave Ortt its 2021 “Oil Slick Award” for his voting record. The group, a lobbying and advocacy outfit, annually “honors” officials whose positions they deem most harmful.   According to Peter Iwanowicz, executive director of Environmental Advocates NY, Ortt’s “extreme anti-environmental voting record should make him an outcast, not the Senate minority leader.” Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, refused an interview, but his spokesman, Andrew Dugan, told Investigative Post that the minority leader supports “sensible” policy positions.[...]

Posted 1 year ago

Nov 13

2021

Envisioning a thriving WNY

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Editor’s note: A version of this column appeared in Buffalo Spree. My wife recently told me of an acquaintance who was moving to California. My response: Who would want to move to California? The land of forest fires, droughts and water shortages? The same could be said of much of the West and Southwest. It’s not uninhabitable – yet – but give it another generation and you’re likely to see an out-migration. That represents an opportunity for cities around the Great Lakes, including Buffalo and Western New York.  We’ll never run out of water. Massive forest fires? Nah. Ditto for[...]

Posted 1 year ago

Aug 31

2021

No changes in West Valley demo plan

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Activist concerns notwithstanding, federal officials are sticking with their plan to demolish a highly radioactive building at the West Valley Demonstration Project.  Despite the calls from residents, activists and experts, “no major amendments” have been made to the plan, according to a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Energy, Joseph Pillitere.  Officials maintain sufficient safety procedures are in place. Extensive work has been completed to remove seven miles of piping and 50 tons of equipment from inside the five-story, 350,000-square-foot building, Pilitere said. The work reduced the building’s radioactivity by 98 percent. “This allows us to safely and compliantly deconstruct[...]

Posted 1 year ago

Aug 2

2021

Popular waterways contaminated by bacteria 

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E. coli is a nasty waterborne bacteria that can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Authorities close beaches when levels exceed safety limits. But they’re doing next to nothing about unsafe readings in other local waterways. There’s a particular problem with the Black Rock Canal, popular with fishermen, the occasional swimmer and, most notably, the West Side Rowing Club and high school and college crew teams. E. coli readings consistently exceed safe limits — by up to 14 times — established by the federal government. “There are people coming in contact with water with E. coli from human feces every single day,”[...]

Posted 2 years ago

May 18

2021

West Valley contamination concerns

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Contractors are in the homestretch of clearing the West Valley Demonstration Project of buildings.  Fifty-one of 55 structures have been taken down, and the most contaminated of them all — the Main Plant Processing Building — is scheduled for demolition this fall. How hot are its five stories of reinforced concrete? A trio of activists said it “could be one of the most radioactive buildings in the country.” The demolition might be welcome news, but the manner in which contractors plan to bring the building down is causing concern, even alarm, in some quarters. Plans call for an open-air demolition[...]

Posted 2 years ago

May 14

2021

Battaglia Demolition still a problem

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A state Supreme Court judge is preparing to decide the penalty for Peter J. Battaglia Jr., three years after his illegal concrete crushing business in South Buffalo was shut down.  Judge Deborah Chimes has ruled Battaglia could be held personally liable for the damages requested in a lawsuit filed by the New York State Attorney General. Diane Lemanski, a nearby resident and a leader in the grassroots decade-long campaign against Battaglia Demolition, will be among those testifying before the court on Tuesday. On Friday, she and other residents who live near the abandoned business made their case at a press[...]

Posted 2 years ago