We Imagine More at Tonawanda Coke

When you inhale and when you exhale

breathe the possibility of another world

into the 37.2 trillion cells of your body

until it shines with hope.

Then imagine more.

Passage from V’ahavta, by Aurora Levins Morales

We Imagine More at Tonawanda Coke

We have much to celebrate about our 2021 work related to Tonawanda Coke, including, most notably, a great deal of

progress on the ongoing site remediation!

We came together on June 5th to watch and cheer as the smoke stacks, which had stood since 1917, belching toxicities

into our community for a century,

were brought down in a controlled demolition!

A win of this magnitude was unimaginable just a few years ago – truly a moment to

imagine more”, as Aurora Levins Morales encourages us to do.

The stacks came down because the people rose up.


In the days and weeks prior we also educated ourselves and the public on the potential dangers and risks associated with the demolition, advising area residents through a public meeting and an information campaign on steps they could take to protect themselves against any dust or debris that might be carried into nearby areas which would have put people at risk.

This education campaign came as a direct result of our prior win in securing a Community Advisory Group for monitoring the site remediation.

Our role as a watchdog amid the ongoing remediation was further tested when a fire broke out on the site on August 10th and then again just a few weeks later when a thick cloud of dust from the demolition of the former coal house was seen rising from the site. We helped our members contact the DEC to notify them of these environmental hazards and of the risk to the community, and also shared what we learned from the workers on site with our members.

Our watchdog role will continue in 2022 and for years to come.

Our team member Maria Tisby summarizes this work thusly –

“Corporate greed at Tonawanda Coke has caused irreparable harm to residents from toxic emissions negatively impacting parameters of health. Political aspirations have caused a conflict of interest with residents’ health concerns always taking a back seat. We deserve an environment clean of toxicity in the land and air. Brownfield cleanups enrich the corporate owners and are not conducive to truly effective clean up. This is a health issue as well as an ethical concern. Residents need to be an integral part of the clean up process with a legitimate seat at the table.”

Team member Sue Kelley further adds

“Clean Air has made the area around the Huntley and Tonawanda Coke plants a healthier and cleaner area to live in.”

Your contribution towards our annual goal of $75,000 will support and strengthen our work in 2022 – please click here to donate today, or click here to become a member

by donating any amount.

Much love and solidarity,

The Tonawanda Coke Team

Maria Tisby, Sue Kelley, Kristen Cascio,

Jim Jones, Tom Morahan, and Bridge Rauch

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P.S. Please consider making a sustaining gift of $5, $10, or $20 a month to ensure Clean Air is always ready to take on the challenges ahead. Thank You!

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