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T.J. Pignataro - Buffalo, NY

T.J. Pignataro has been a staff reporter for The Buffalo News for more than 20 years and the environment and weather reporter since 2013. He holds a juris doctor degree from SUNY Buffalo Law School.


Business

Tonawanda Coke Corp. has filed for bankruptcy, just days after telling government regulators it planned to shut down its Town of Tonawanda facility following a long fight with them over emissions. The Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing would allow the company to reorganize its operations, although Tonawanda Coke said in court documents that it does not expect to have enough m…

Weather

No need for a shovel. Yet. But, the first flakes of the 2018-19 winter season are expected to fall late Wednesday into early Thursday morning across Western New York, with chances for some minor accumulation in the higher elevations, according to National Weather Service forecasts. Then, later in the weekend, forecasters are eyeing a chance for another round of wet s…

Environment

Tonawanda Coke officials confirmed Monday for the first time that the company will close. "Sadly, largely due to the financial obligations of its criminal sentence, significant and unanticipated expenses, the loss of a funding source, and the multiple and coordinated enforcement actions brought by various government agencies, Tonawanda Coke cannot continue operations," …

Weather

Just a week ago, Buffalo logged its first trio of 80-degree days in October since 1951. This week? The first snowflakes are in the forecast. https://buffalonews.com/2018/10/15/there-is-a-chance-of-snow-in-wnys-forecast-this-week/ So, is it just the whiplash from summer to winter weather in a week's time, or is this week's forecast for snow unusually early? Nati…

Erie County

Last week, heat records were being set in Western New York. This week, there may be snow. The National Weather Service's forecast for this week has that four-letter word possibly appearing Wednesday night into Thursday morning. A "cold front will bring chances for rain showers Wednesday turning cold enough perhaps for some wet snow across higher elevations Wednesd…

Environment

The first signal of Tonawanda Coke’s impending demise came earlier this year when unusually acrid smoke huffed from its River Road smokestack. As its coke oven puffs for the final time — possibly within the next few days — residents’ concerns about the plant will shift from what’s in the air to what’s left behind at the site after 101 years of coke production. Residents…

Environment

Call it a case of good news, bad news for the bloater chub. Scientists in two countries are working to bring back the once-familiar fish to Lake Ontario, and they hope to eventually release as many as a half-million of them a year into the lake. But they're doing this just so other fish can eat them. That's the bloater chub's role in helping the lake's ecosystem. …

Local News

A cold air mass passing over the still warm waters of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario tonight and Saturday will bring some lake-effect showers across parts of Western New York. And, some waterspouts are also possible on both lakes, the National Weather Service said. Weather service forecasters said "conditions will become favorable for a chance of waterspouts" on the lake…

Local News

The Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation will provide $3 million to the Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper to continue its efforts to restore the environment of the Buffalo waterfront, Waterkeeper announced today. The investment will be designed to help Waterkeeper improve recreational access as well as increase eco-tourism and encourage community revitalization. Waterkeeper offi…

Weather

Signs this summer started pointing toward an El Niño pattern for this winter, but it seemed a little early to say for sure. Forecasters at the federal Climate Prediction Center – as well as counterparts in Australia – are now pegging the chances for El Niño at about 70 percent. So, do you feel lucky? El Niño is related to sea surface temperatures in the tropical r…

Environment

Citizens groups expressed frustration with the adjournment of an administrative hearing Wednesday that was to determine whether Tonawanda Coke's air permit should be revoked. But they remained hopeful Tonawanda Coke's days are numbered. "We want this company gone. They have overstayed their welcome," said Jackie James-Creedon, executive director of Citizen Science Co…

Local News

The winning ways of Western New York's sports teams over the holiday weekend were being referred to on social media as #WonBuffalo. There was another big win weather-wise today. Call it #WarmBuffalo. By two degrees, at 83 degrees, Buffalo topped the high temperature for Tuesday's date, 109 years ago. The previous record was 81 degrees for the date, set in 1909. …

Environment

An administrative hearing likely to affect the fate of Tonawanda Coke's air permits begins Wednesday, the latest front for the beleaguered company. The hearing could extend into Thursday and Friday, and after it's over, the administrative law judge will submit recommendations and a fact-finding report to a deputy commissioner at the Department of Environmental Conservat…

Environment

When schoolchildren in Toledo, Ohio, release some 3,000 fingerling lake sturgeon Saturday in a first-of-its-kind stocking to a Lake Erie tributary, some of those fish might eventually make their way east – to Buffalo. “We see large-scale movements quite a bit,” said Justin Chiotti, a fish biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “They definitely could move ove…

Environment

The annual transition to a vibrant landscape of yellow, red and orange is expected to arrive in Western New York over the next week or so. The I Love New York Fall Foliage report calls for "beautiful peak colors beginning to appear in New York State" in the North Country with just changing colors across Western New York through next Tuesday. And, with the National We…