Recycling toxic waste poses risk to residents
How, on God’s green earth, can the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation propose recycling the toxic waste from Tonawanda Coke in the very same ovens that for decades polluted the air and poisoned the citizens of the Town of Tonawanda without discussing the proposal with those very citizens?
The people have suffered well-documented ill health at the hands of this mismanaged industrial facility. The corporation and its management have been punished for their dangerous negligence. Now, to read in a simple letter from the DEC that this same corporation may be permitted to dispose of those poisonous wastes through that same facility, strikes fear and fosters rage in the hearts of its victims.
The written assurances in the “State Superfund Fact Sheet” do little to ameliorate these well-founded reactions on the part of the people of Tonawanda. The suggestion that they should undertake the circulation of this material, instead of the company developing a serious program of information and consultation with them, is insulting.
To redeem this unconscionable blooper the DEC must:
• Hold a series of public meetings in the Town of Tonawanda to present the problem of disposal of Tonawanda Coke toxic waste.
• Include in these meetings a list of alternative proposals.
• Review and present the potential health consequences of each proposal.
• Allow an extended opportunity for both written and in-person verbal comment on the proposals.
The people of Tonawanda have suffered enormously. They deserve a voice in their future health and the health of the town in which they spend their lives.
Laurence T. Beahan
Sierra Club, Niagara Group