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Letter: Tonawanda Coke has no place in area’s future

Tonawanda Coke has no place in area’s future

On Dec. 9, Tonawanda Coke went to the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that it does not owe a $24 million fine for dumping benzene, a carcinogen, and other toxins into the environment. I am calling on all Buffalonians, especially leaders from our growing entrepreneur and health care sectors, to send the message that Tonawanda Coke has no place in the new Buffalo.

Since moving to Buffalo in 2013 to attend the University at Buffalo, I have learned about this city’s history of innovation, from the first Visiting Nurses Association in the country to the first internal pacemaker.

Buffalo has a bright future in innovation, attracting new industries to a community that offers excellent and affordable lifestyles and health care. With SolarCity coming to town, Buffalo is betting on sustainable and cost-effective sources of energy to maintain our economy.

Tonawanda Coke does provide tax dollars for the community, but this may not last long. Coke is made from coal and used in steel production. Coal is not sustainable and other forms of energy will take its place.

Tonawanda Coke takes away from the community more than it gives back. Its pollution has been linked to higher levels of cancer in the community, driving up the cost of health insurance for all. Additionally, its smoke stacks along the Niagara River send the message to investors that Buffalo has not changed from its Rust Belt days. We need to focus on what works for Buffalo, not the dirty past.

Marna Metcalf