April/May 2024 Monthly Updates – Celebrate Earth Day and May Day Everyday with Clean Air!

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October – November 2022 Updates from Clean Air

Celebrating Earth Day and May Day

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Last week was Earth Day and next week we celebrate May Day, aka International Worker’s Day.
Join us to celebrate our collective fight for environmental justice on May 22 at our Annual Dinner – tickets available now!

With Bread and Roses,

Bridge, Chris, Cindy, and Gia

Spring Tonawanda Community Meeting

May 6

Our Annual Dinner Returns May 22

Our Annual Dinner will be held on Thursday May 22 at Trinity Episcopal Church, 371 Delaware Avenue.

We will be having a happy hour (cash bar) occurring from 5:30pm-6:15pm and then come together for dinner and awards at 7pm.

This event is extra special because we will also be celebrating our 15th anniversary as an organization! Buy your tickets today by clicking here.

  Please feel free to reach out to Chris Murawski at chris@cacwny.org or Gia Spicola at gia@cacwny.org with any questions!

Support North Tonawanda Residents Fighting Crypto Mining

Residents in North Tonawanda are fed up with the unregulated cryptomining at the Fortistar power plant, and will be delivering a petition at the May 14 Common Council Workshop Session at 6:30pm at 216 Payne Ave in North Tonawanda.

Click here to sign the petition to support them, and please feel free to join us at the workshop session.

Summer Volunteering with Clean Air

It’s finally warming up, and that means it’s canvassing and festival tabling season – click here to sign up to volunteer with Clean Air this year!

Clean Air Membership Survey

Please take a moment to fill out our Membership Survey – as a grassroots organization we are continuously looking to increase our membership and supporter base, and we want to make sure we are doing everything we can to grow our community.
Any feedback, suggestions, and questions you include in this survey, will be incredibly helpful for us! Click here for the survey.

NYS DEC East Side Environmental Forum
May 8 – Brownfields and American Axle Focus

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation will be hosting an East Side Environmental Forum on Wednesday May 8th at 5:30 at the Frank E. Merriweather, Jr. Library at 1324 Jefferson Avenue.
The topic focus will be Brownfields and the American Axle site.

Please contact Kayla Baker for more information, including about how to join online, at kayla.baker@dec.ny.gov or
Questions, or want to coordinate with Clean Air prior?
Please reach out to Cindy.

STAMP Permit Terminated, but Fight Continues

There’s been a big win in the fight to stop the construction of WNY STAMP and protect the Tonawanda Seneca Nation and their homelands – on April 24, the US Fish and Wildlife Service rescinded the permit that would have allowed construction of an industrial wastewater and sewage pipeline through the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge!

While we are celebrating this win, the fight is far from over – take action today to fully STOP the STAMP and uphold the sovereignty of the Tonawanda Seneca Nation!

Tonawanda Zoning Updates

On April 9 Clean Air held a rally to encourage attendance at the Town of Tonawanda’s public hearing on the updated zoning code and to draw attention to issues we have raised about the draft. We’re immensely grateful to all our members and supporters who came, and proud of every person who rose to speak at the hearing. Our message was heard loud and clear, and, although they voted to pass the draft code as written, Town officials have stated they will continue to work on the zoning code, starting with several of the issues we flagged. Click here to watch video of the rally, and here to read a summary of the evening, which includes a link to the audio of the hearing.

State Budget a Mixed Bag at Best

Our state budget was finalized earlier this month, and it’s a bit of a mess – while there were some positive highlights, such as reforms for Tier 6 pensions and a scaled-down version of the housing plan for upstate cities, it was also a disaster for housing justice groups and environmental and climate justice groups. As NY Renews noted,

“By not including the NY HEAT Act, the Climate Change Superfund Act, or new investments in climate and environmental justice, state leadership prefers to protect their fossil fuel industry investors over the wallets and health of working New Yorkers, raising our energy bills and continuing to funnel billions of dollars into expanding and maintaining the state’s toxic and polluting fossil fuel system.”

WNY Assembly Representatives appear to have been particularly vulnerable to lobbying efforts by National Fuel, which pulled out all stops to prevent the inclusion of the NY HEAT Act.

This fight is far from over, though – Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie has already signaled that NY HEAT and other legislation like the Climate Change Superfund Act might be revisited through separate legislation before the session ends.

This will require pressure to push over the finish line – NY Renews will be holding a mass call tomorrow evening to discuss the next steps planned, and they are also holding online legislative visits this week.

We encourage our members and supporters to sign up for both – this is a great way to not only show support from WNY for environmental and climate justice, but also to build your lobbying and legislative skills and knowledge.

Action Alert! Oppose Proposed 1 Million Square Foot Warehouse on Wetland in Grand Island

Our friends at the Coalition for Responsible Development for Grand Island are asking for signatures for their petition in support for the Passage of a Revised M1 law on Grand Island before Monday May 6.
This is in response to a proposed 1 million square foot warehouse at 2780 Long Road on Grand Island which would be built on a wetland. CRED4GI also asks that people write to  Shannon.N.Azzarelli@usace.army.mil at the Army Corps of Engineers by Wednesday May 8 to submit a statement that you are opposed to granting the exchange of 1.36 acres of wetland for the purchase of 1.36 credits from the Ducks Unlimited In-Lieu Fee Program – Niagara River Service Area, request that an in-depth inspection of this wetland area for any endangered species, investigate how this exchange might impact the habitat for these species, and to request a public hearing on this matter.
Read the full Army Corps announcement by clicking here, send an email to Army Corps by clicking here, and sign the petition to the Town Board by clicking here.

EPA and UB Air Quality Project

The Environmental Protection Agency and University at Buffalo announced earlier this month that they will be working with the Buffalo Center for Health Equity to deploy a network of 30 PurpleAir monitors on Buffalo’s East Side, and conducting a related health study.

This announcement came a day after the EPA and NYS DEC also held their first joint Environmental Justice Forum in Niagara Falls- we are encouraged to see this increased engagement and look forward to seeing it not only continue but be built upon!


The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced this month that they have established an Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Civil Rights for the first time, which will serve to increase diversity in hiring practices and support current employees – read more here.

DEC also announced the appointment of Sean Mahar as Interim Commissioner – Mr. Mahar has been a long time DEC employee and will serve as Interim until a permanent Commissioner is appointed.

DEC also launched a new podcast this month – click here to listen!

Manhattan Project Materials Cleanups

Following the release of $155 million in federal funding to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Buffalo District, several announcements were made this month by USACE about projects to remediate sites contaminated by radioactive Manhattan Project materials and other radioactive materials from Cold War weapons production.

Of note, the Seaway Landfill, which is in the River Road corridor of Tonawanda and a site you might recognize as the large green hill to the north of the Grand Island Bridges in Tonawanda, will be permanently capped. More info on the Seaway project from WGRZ here. Projects are also commencing in Lockport and Niagara Fallslearn more about these and other USACE remediation projects in our region here, and come to our May 6 Tonawanda Meeting to discuss this topic with other Clean Air members and community members!

Bike Breakfast at Trinity Church

Wednesdays in May 

Our friends at GoBike Buffalo are going to be hosting their annul Bike Breakfasts during Bike Month in the courtyard of Trinity Church, the campus where our office is! Pop by on your way into work on Wednesdays in May between 7:30-9:30, and say hi while you’re here!

Regulatory Public Comment Periods

In addition to the comment periods and public hearings on proposed rule changes to rules for Industrial Permitting and the Remediation Program, NYS DEC has also announced comment periods for a new Brownfield Clean-up application at 235 River Road in North Tonawanda and a Draft Investigation Work Plan for several sites in downtown Buffalo centered at 23 Huron.

Today is also the last day to submit public comments on the proposed Iroquois Enhancement by Compression (ExC) Project which would expand the existing methane gas pipeline that currently runs from the Canadian border near Plattsburgh, through the Hudson Valley, all the way to NYC and Long Island. Peer Environmental Justice organizations and residents in the area are asking all NY residents to write a letter of opposition using this one-click toolkit.

EPA Regulations Strengthened

Flint Water Crisis 10 Year Later, Buffalo Lead Court

The City of Buffalo recently announced the creation of a new “Lead Court” to address the backlog of lead poisoning cases from contaminated homes. This news came around the same time that the city’s Permits and Inspections department also reported that it’s unable to meet the legal requirements set by the Proactive Rental Inspections law under current funding levels.

This month also marks 10 years since the Flint Water Crisis became known, which also exposed the lead service line issues across the nation, including right here in WNY. Flint residents still are fighting for clean drinking water – support the fundraisers that Little Miss Flint continues to host for water filters.

If you are interested in learning more about organizing around lead contamination issues or are a reporter interested in the topic, you may be interested in these webinars by Grist and the Center for Public Integrity and the linked toolkits in the article.

American Climate Corps Launched

In a big win for youth-led environmental and climate justice organizing, most notably the work of the Sunrise Movement, the American Climate Corps launched this month, with applications for dozens of opportunities across the nation already posted.
The ACC is an AmeriCorps program with a goal of putting a new generation of Americans to work conserving our lands and waters, bolstering community resilience, advancing environmental justice, deploying clean energy, implementing energy efficient technologies, and tackling climate change.
Locally, The Service Collaborative of WNY launched the Environmental Justice Corps this past fall – current service terms wrap in September, so if you or someone you know are interested in applying for the next cohort, now is a good time to start to reach out!

New Fenceline Data Tool

Public Health Watch and three partner organizations launched a new database tool this month for finding and mapping facilities in violation of permitted emissions.

Check it out today at https://fencelinedata.org/

Point Township PA Pushes Back on Petrochemicals

Our congratulations go out to residents of Point Township, PA who successfully organized to shut down a plan to build an immense petrochemical plant! Read more.

“Poisoned Ground” Now Streaming

American Experience documentary “Poisoned Ground“, about the Love Canal disaster, is now available for streaming.

Geothermal is a Just Transition Strategy

Check out this excellent profile on how oil and gas workers in Texas are transitioning to geothermal energy, directly reusing their skillset in the emerging post-carbon economy. Closer to home, cities, environmental justice groups, and the labor community here in NY are beginning to implement Thermal Networks, which is a geothermal technique that retains pipefitter jobs.

Project 2025 Environmental Justice Implications

FEMA Rule Reforms Needed 

The current rules that FEMA follow for major disaster response continue to fall short of what’s needed for the weather disasters we’re now encountering regularly due to the climate emergency.
As Buffalo News recently covered, local city and county governments are bearing a disproportionate cost burden for winter storms, and residents get little if any support. There may be signs that FEMA is beginning to acknowledge the inequities in it’s reimbursement program, though – read more from Grist.

“The Baltimore Bridge Collapse is a Story About Deregulation”

In These Times featured a great column this month highlighting the link between deadly deregulation and industrial disasters such as the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge and the East Palestine derailment.

Pray for the Dead, Fight for the Living!

Recent Passings and Memorials

Tomorrow, April 30, the WNY labor movement will take a moment to remember the workers this year that were killed on the job due to industrial accidents with a memorial in the evening.
May 14 marks two years since the white supremacist terrorist attack on black Buffalonians, which will be memorialized at numerous events throughout the city, region, and nationally.

On March 26 we also lost Constance Eve, a Buffalo advocate for formerly incarcerated women among other vulnerable groups, and on April 19 Douglas Stock, President Emeritus of the Dunkirk Central Labor Council, also passed. We and the entire Buffalo organizing community are also very saddened to hear of the passing of Desmond Abrams, a community organizer who left us this past weekend. Rest in Power!

Training and Leadership Opportunities

Are you a Clean Air member or supporter who is engaged with a current campaign, and is there a training opportunity that you would like to pursue to strengthen your organizing?
Please let a staff organizer know, as we budget to support leadership development! All Clean Air members and supporters also have free access to trainings from the Advocacy Institute.

Community Events and Announcements

Additional Opportunities

Report a Polluter

See dark smoke or dust rising from an industrial site, or smell something foul?

Visit dec.ny.gov/regulations/67751.html to file a report, or, for rapid response, call 1-844-DEC-ECOS (1-844-332-3267) or the DEC Spill Hotline/Odor Hotline at 1-800-457-7362.

If you’d like CACWNY to support you, send us a copy of your report!

Upcoming Events Calendar


Community and Coalition Events

Public Comment Deadlines and Hearings

Also see our regularly updated list of events at bit.ly/CleanAirEvents and linktr.ee/cleanairwny

Mutual Aid

Do you need a N95 mask? We have a limited supply available at the office for our members – send us a quick email and we’ll send a few your way! We encourage wearing masks at our in-person events, particularly during seasons of peak COVID transmission. Be sure to check out the Buffalo Mutual Aid Network Facebook group, where mutual aid services and calls for donations and donations are being posted on an ongoing basis.

You can also click here to join the Buffalo Snow Brigade. We also suggest checking out the resources at mutualaiddisasterrelief.org as well as their new website relieftoolkit.comIf interested in joining mutual aid efforts with Clean Air, particularly in the realm of community resiliency amid climate change,
please reach out to Bridge about trainings or to Chris or Gia about our events and membership committee.

Support Bob Jahnke!

If you are a Buffalo West Side resident, you’ve probably met and been helped by Bob Jahnke.
He is a former board member of PUSH Buffalo and very active in the community, often lending his handyman skills at discounted rates or free to those in need. Please show him some love by donating to his GoFundMe.

Monthly Staff Recs – Summer Fun!

Cindy is looking forward to finally seeing the sun consistently, Gia looks forward to local produce, Bridge looks forward to Pride events and summer travel solo and with family, and Chris is looking forward to summer concerts, including the Newport Folk Fest!

Interested in joining our events committee, mutual aid team, or want to connect with CACWNY about an emerging campaign or issue, or interested in Interested in joining our Peabody Street, Lovejoy, TESLA, Energy Democracy Alliance, or other Just Transition campaign work?

Interested in joining our
American Axle campaign or supporting our work in the Delavan-Grider neighborhood and greater East Side?

Interested in joining our Tonawanda Tomorrow or River Road campaigns, NT Cryptomining campaign, or supporting NYRenews/climate justice?

Interested in supporting Clean Air’s grassroots fundraising efforts, or know of a grant opportunity that might support our work?

Want to donate to support our work?


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