Tag: Environment

Sep 3

2019

Turning a blind eye to environmental risks

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You’d think that the construction of a million square feet of manufacturing space on a brownfield along the Buffalo River would warrant a thorough environmental investigation before shovels bit into the soil. And you’d be wrong. The Tesla plant in South Buffalo was built on a former Superfund site — once home to Republic Steel, Donner Hanna Coke and Feine Steel, among other historic industrial polluters. The site borders the environmental debacle that was (and is) the Hickory Woods residential development, which was poisoned by the use as fill of toxic materials created by those plants. Prior to its purchase[...]

Posted 3 years ago

Apr 12

2019

Developer pauses wind power project

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  The developers of a proposed wind farm on the shores of Lake Ontario have put the project on hold. Apex Clean Energy has been working on plans to build 47 wind turbines in the towns of Somerset and Yates, about 50 miles northeast of Buffalo. Many residents oppose the projects, saying the wind turbines would will change the character of their rural communities. Federal conservation authorities have raised concerns about the towers’ placement in the path of migrating birds. The town boards in Somerset and Yates have passed local laws designed to prevent the project from moving forward. The[...]

Posted 3 years ago

Mar 21

2019

String of violations at Buffalo plant

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 The former American Brass plant on Military Road in North Buffalo keeps getting cited for federal and state environmental and safety violations. The plant, now owned by the German company Aurubis AG, is over a million square feet and home to 650 workers. It produces about 160,000 tons of metal each year for use in cars, batteries, ammunition and zippers.  Last year, state regulators fined the company $35,500 for 15 violations involving the  mishandling of hazardous waste. The violations resulted in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency declaring Aurubis a “significant non-complier” between 2016 and 2018. Three times since 2011,[...]

Posted 4 years ago

Feb 13

2019

Proposed wind turbines generating conflict

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Pam Atwater lives on six and a half acres in the Niagara County Town of Somerset. Her home is primarily fueled by energy from the solar panels on the rooftop of her barn and a geothermal system that heats and cools her house. Despite her embrace of renewable energy, Atwater leads a group fighting to prevent a Virginia-based company from placing 47 wind turbines across the southern shore of Lake Ontario in her community and the neighboring Town of Yates. The project could create enough energy to power 53,000 homes. The 591-foot wind turbines would be among the tallest structures[...]

Posted 4 years ago

Feb 7

2019

Water quality projects go begging for funds

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 Only half the projects eligible for state aid to improve sewage and drinking water systems received funding in recent years, according to a report issued Thursday. The problem, according to Environmental Advocates of New York, is that the $200 million a year the state has allocated for the work falls well short of what’s needed. “Those aren’t the odds we need to protect New York’s drinking water,” said Robert Hayes, the author of the report, during a press call. “But at the moment, there simply isn’t enough funding to go around.” Projects include upgrading wastewater treatment plants, replacing eroding water[...]

Posted 4 years ago

Jan 16

2019

Report: Tainted soil near Tonawanda Coke

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A university research team released a report Wednesday that found — to no one’s surprise — that some of the soil around the Tonawanda Coke plant is contaminated with a host of toxic chemicals. The affected areas include two areas near the plant in the town and city of Tonawanda. Contamination was also found across the Niagara River in a section of Grand Island, as well as two public schools. The study by scientists from the University at Buffalo and SUNY Fredonia found elevated levels of toxins in the soil including lead, mercury, arsenic, cyanide and PCBs. The judicial order that[...]

Posted 4 years ago

Dec 19

2018

Battle rages over proposed landfill expansion

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There’s been a tug of war for 15 years between CWM Chemical Services, which has proposed expanding its hazardous waste landfill in Porter, and opponents of the project. Since Investigative Post last reported on the proposed expansion, opponents have filed paperwork with the state that aim to show the community is a bad fit for a hazardous waste landfill. As part of these filings, opponents challenged claims by CWM that the new landfill would generate nearly $1.2 billion in economic benefits for the community. Opponents also filed an engineering report that found that at one point, as many as two out[...]

Posted 4 years ago

Dec 19

2018

Move to tighten drinking water standards

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State officials took steps Tuesday to limit the concentration of chemicals that contaminated the drinking water supply in Hoosick Falls several years ago. If adopted, the recommendation would require improvements to around a quarter of public water systems across the state, with initial costs of $855 million. The standards, recommended by the New York State Drinking Water Quality Council, led by Health Commissioner Howard Zucker and Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos, would be the toughest in the nation if adopted. But they fall short of limits recommended by many scientists. At issue are two chemicals – perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and[...]

Posted 4 years ago