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DUNLOP EXPANSION PASSES ENVIRONMENT REVIEW

Plans for a $25 million expansion of Dunlop Tire Corp.'s Town of Tonawanda factory moved a step forward, thanks to the support of the town's Environmental Quality Review Board.

The board ruled that the project will not hurt the environment, and can move forward without any further environmental reviews, according to Michael P. Haza, the town's supervising building inspector. The board's recommendation is being sent to the Town Board for its approval.

The environmental approval would be the final regulatory step the project needs, said Larry Griffiths, Dunlop's manager of strategic marketing. The new Dunlop production line is scheduled to open in mid-1999, and will allow Dunlop to supply original-equipment tires for passenger cars, broadening its base of products.

The expansion is expected to add about 70 new jobs.

"Everything is moving right along, right on schedule," Griffiths said.

The Tonawanda plant makes motorcycle, truck and ATV tires, leaving car tire production to a sister plant in Huntsville, Ala. But with demand for car tires increasing from Dunlop customers, the company decided to add car tire production to the Tonawanda plant.

Much of the increased demand comes from companies such as Toyota, Lexus, Nissan, Honda and Mercedes, as those car makers see their U.S. sales grow, Dunlop officials have said.

"Business has been good," Griffiths said.

The town's environmental board also reviewed plans this week by FMC Corp. to construct a 10,735-square-foot addition to its warehouse on Sawyer Avenue.

The environmental board is recommending that the Town Board also declare that the FMC Corp. project won't harm the environment, Hazan said.

The project is receiving $1.8 million in bond financing and $426,200 in property tax breaks through the Erie County Industrial Development Agency.

The Chicago-based producer of industrial chemicals employs 130 local workers.

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