Ceretto saves county from nightmare
For far too long Niagara County has been a dumping ground for all kinds of chemical waste. Just last year, the Niagara Falls Water Board was actually considering adding to the amount of chemicals flowing into the Niagara River. Unbelievably, the Water Board wanted to accept the waste created by the process of hydraulic fracturing, which is a way of drilling for natural gas.
Millions of gallons of liquid waste containing highly toxic chemicals and levels of salt five times higher than seawater could have been sent here in tanker trucks to be "treated" and then dumped into the Niagara River.
Water Board Executive Director Paul Drof publicly admitted that "there is a concern with any industrial waste that there could be toxins in there that could be considered to be [harmful] to health and well-being."
Despite that warning, Water Board Chairman Mike McNally wanted to file a lawsuit to make sure these chemicals were brought here. When all he talked about was the money that was to be made by accepting this poison, my first thought was of the Love Canal, where the love of the almighty dollar caused an ecological nightmare that still taints our community. I wondered if the money would win this fight.
But thankfully someone stepped in to make a difference this time, and that person was Assemblyman John Ceretto. John had long advocated both local representation and local control of the Water Board. He wanted board members who shared his commitment to protect our health and well-being, and to safeguard the ecology and the river that creates the wonder and beauty of Niagara Falls.
So in January, John Ceretto recommended the appointment of a Niagara Falls resident, Renae Kimble, to that board. John has a well-proven record of working in a bipartisan manner, always putting the needs of the residents and our community ahead of party politics. Because of that he was able to reach across the aisle to work with Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and gain the confirmation of Kimble's appointment two months later. And it was Renae who provided the key "swing vote" to stop this plan.
It seems as if the nightly news is filled with stories about political gridlock and big money setting our policies. It was becoming all too easy to wonder if one person could even make a difference. But now I know that if it's the right person they can. And that right person is our Assemblyman, John Ceretto.
Patricia J. Castillo