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Letter: State must take blame on radioactive waste

I would like to give credit to The Buffalo News and reporter Thomas J. Prohaska for forcing the state to come clean about the presence of radioactive waste at the entrance to the state park.

As a lifelong resident of Niagara Falls who witnessed the horror of Love Canal, it is very disturbing to learn that the state failed to inform the public of the existence of the contaminated soil discovered in May in the midst of the construction work at the park at the height of the tourist season.

City officials and residents were blindsided by the report in The News which forced the state Department of Environmental Conservation to admit the presence of the radioactive waste and begin removing it off site and out of state.

The construction project at the main park entrance – which has hurt local businesses like the Hard Rock Café and One Niagara over the court of the summer – will now most certainly extend until next year. And there remains a great deal of uncertainty among many folks about how much more contaminated waste is still on site. Petroleum byproducts reportedly have also been found, all within yards of tourists and food vendors.

The state needs to keep local officials and the public informed, not hide the existence of potentially dangerous waste right at the gateway to our world attraction.

Again, The News forced the state to come clean.

Let’s hope they get the mess cleaned up quickly and finish that work before another tourist season gets hurt by the ongoing construction.

Michael S. Gawel

Niagara Falls

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