Tonawanda Coke Corporation Issued Shutdown Order!

Tonawanda, NY – On July 20th NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos issued a Cease and Desist Letter with a “Notice of Intent to revoke” DEC’s operating permit. The order states DEC inspected the Tonawanda Coke facility, on July 19, 2018 following numerous resident complaints. During the inspection DEC documented several violations of environmental regulations. Due to persistent and ongoing violations, DEC states the agency has made a determination to revoke the companies Title V Air Operating permit.
The Buffalo News has a good overview of the 176 violations that the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation has issued to the facility since January. These include:
  • Improperly placing hazardous waste into battery ovens,
  • Insufficient labeling of hazardous waste and record keeping violations,
  • Falling to perform required testing at a wastewater outfall earlier this year,
  • Twenty-nine violations related to chemical storage, including record keeping, labeling and maintenance violations and an unreported spill,
  • Unreported petroleum spills and unregistered tanks.


The latest action by the DEC stems from a decade long history of residents demanding accountability of TCC. The Clean Air was founded by Tonawanda residents who believed the pollution from facilities like Tonawanda Coke were impacting their health. After years of resident organizing Tonawanda Coke was found criminally guilty of violating the Federal Clean Air Act and Federal Hazardous Waste regulations.
This spring The Clean Air Coalition started receiving calls from Tonawanda residents about black smoke coming from the facility. Shortly thereafter, Clean Air received a tip from a former worker that there had been a major collapse of a Waste Heat Tunnel at Tonawanda Coke. After taking this information to local media, Clean Air urged residents to call the NYS DEC and file a complaint to hold Tonawanda Coke accountable for their actions.
The latest actions of DEC follows after years of residents complaints, petitions, protests, and demands for enforcement of the law. For members of Clean Air this order by NYS DEC has been a long time in the making. Clean Air applauds this effort by NYS DEC to protect public health and the environment in WNY.
Paul Saffrin, the CEO of Tonawanda Coke, has until August 4th to respond to the order.

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