We won! Clean Air Members Celebrate Victory of Community Advisory Group at Neighborhood Hazardous Waste Site


We Won!

Clean Air Members Celebrate Victory of Community Advisory Group at Neighborhood Hazardous Waste Site 

Delavan-Grider community wins oversight and accountability board at former American Axle site 

Clean Air members celebrate the creation of a Community Advisory Group on cleanup of the former American Axle site in the City of Buffalo.  The advisory group will be an important step on the long road of rebuilding trust within the community after generations of environmental racism and neglect at the hands of the State and private businesses in a majority Black residential neighborhood in Buffalo. The announcement was made today by Erie County Legislator and Chairwoman April Baskin and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

“The Community Advisory Group was established because of our work to make the health and wellbeing of our community the DEC’s number one priority. The group is an important step in rebuilding years of broken trust in the DEC by the residents. We look forward to working with Rep. Baskin, the DEC and all other stakeholders to make sure the cleanup is held to the highest standards, and is transparent and accountable to the people in this community. We want our community to be made whole”, Ms. Della Miller, Clean Air American Axle Team Member.

Last summer, the Erie County Legislature unanimously passed two resolutions in support of the establishment of Community Advisory Groups at the former American Axle and Tonawanda Coke sites. In September of 2020, the NYSDEC announced the formation of a Tonawanda Coke Working Group, but then denied the establishment of a similar group at American Axle. The Delavan-Grider community, a primarily working class Black community, named the racism baked into the refusal of their calls for transparency, inclusion and decision making power at a site in their own backyards.


The Community Advisory Group will be a forum for community members, organizations and other stakeholders to provide input, oversight and recommendations to the NYSDEC and American-Axle remediation parties, East Delavan Properties, LLC, owned by Jon Williams, the same owner of the former Tonawanda Coke site. The Community Advisory board is a standard practice inside of the federal Superfund cleanup program, and is an important step towards the full transparency and participation that community members have been calling for on the site for over a decade.

“This advisory group is a step in the right direction to address the real harms of environmental racism in the Delavan-Grider Community. We are thankful for the leadership of Rep. Baskin and are pleased that the NYSDEC will be following the leadership of Black women in their decades-long call for answers and action at these hazardous waste sites. Our team will not rest until all of our concerns are acted upon by the NYSDEC and Jon Williams, including off-site testing to give residents the peace of mind they deserve in their own backyards.”, Emily Terrana, Clean Air Environmental Justice Organizer.

The American Axle site located at 1001 East Delavan Ave. has been known to be significantly contaminated.  Approximately 110 thousand gallons of PCBs are located underneath this site. PCBs, known carcinogens, were found to be leaking into the sewer that flows under community members homes. Due to the significant history of soil contamination on this site, residents are particularly concerned about the potential for groundwater contamination.  Families who live near the site are afraid to drink their water and plant gardens in their backyards.

The majority of the 35.6-acre site is being remediated through New York State’s Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP) by East Delavan Properties, funded in part by taxpayer dollars. The site also includes a 2.65-acre parcel that is part of the State Superfund Program supervised by the NYSDEC and paid for by a 2012 settlement with General Motors.

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