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Schneiderman seeking to prevent reopening of Amigone crematory

State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman is seeking a judge’s order to prevent a controversial crematory in a Town of Tonawanda funeral home from reopening on Friday.

The owners of the crematory in the Amigone Funeral Home on Sheridan Drive have indicated the crematory would resume operations on Friday, more than three years after the system was shut down following neighbor complaints and an agreement between Schneiderman and Sheridan Park Inc., the name under which the nonprofit facility operates.

Schneiderman “has filed for a preliminary injunction that would halt the operation of the Amigone crematory until such time as it implements measures necessary to address the odor, soot, smoke, and noise that has long-plagued this community, as well as receives required state permits to operate the facility,” according to a statement released late Wednesday afternoon by Schneiderman’s office.

Amigone’s attorney provided notice in a Jan. 14 letter to Schneiderman’s office and the state Department of Environmental Conservation that the crematory would reopen Friday. The letter also outlines 13 mechanical and engineering upgrades planned for the cremation system that Amigone believes will address concerns by neighbors and state officials.

But, in a response to the letter, Maureen A. Brady, the DEC’s regional attorney, said on Jan. 20 that reopening the crematory using the existing equipment “is inconsistent with the terms and intent” of Amigone’s June 2012 agreement with Schneiderman that led to a moratorium and a March 2014 decision by State Supreme Court Justice Henry J. Nowak.

Brady also noted the DEC will require Amigone to apply for a state facility permit, which controls a facility’s permission to emit air pollution.

Amigone was cited in May 2012 by the state DEC “for causing or allowing emissions to the outdoor atmosphere having a six-minute average of 10 percent opacity or greater,” according to a copy of the notice of violation.

Residents adjacent to Amigone’s property have complained since at least the mid 1990s about strange and unpleasant odors from the crematory, which began operating in 1991.

The attorney general’s office on Wednesday in State Supreme Court sought a temporary restraining order, which was not granted. Both sides are due before Supreme Court Justice E. Jeanette Ogden on Feb. 17 when arguments about the preliminary injunction will be heard.

“Our office will continue to stand with the community to ensure the Amigone crematory will not again foul their air and disrupt residents’ lives,” according to the statement Wednesday by Schneiderman’s office.