Take action for health and justice in Delavan-Grider!

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First ever Community Advisory Group meeting on American Axle!

After so much strategic organizing, hard work and tenacity, the first Community Advisory Group meeting on the cleanup at American Axle is scheduled for Monday, September 13th at 6pm! Join us online to hear from the NYSDEC, developer and owner of the site Jon Williams and his engineering team and community members on the status of the cleanup, next steps and what we need the people in charge to do to protect our health and environment. This meeting will be held online over Zoom. The image on this page includes the call in number and/or a QR code that will bring you directly into the Zoom meeting on the 13th.

You can join the meeting by clicking this link or by calling in with the number below:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81710794699 or by dialing in at (646) 876-9923, Meeting ID: 817 1079 4699.

For more information about our work at American Axle, check out our past Facebook live events at www.facebook.com/cleanairwny

Questions? Email Emily@cacwny.org.



Cryptocurrency mining: A step backwards for NT and NYS

The fight is far from over on the proposed cryptocurrency and blockchain gas-fired powerplant in North Tonawanda!

We have created a toolkit for you to take action and have your voice heard. We need a full study of the environmental and public health impacts of this totally unregulated new industry and we need it now.

We want to be very clear; every single action we take together matters. It may feel like we are yelling into the void and that the powers that be will always win, but we know for a fact that this isn’t true. When we feel powerless, they win.

Fossil fuel powered blockchain and cryptocurrency mining is a step backward for New York State. Data mining facilities are a drain on natural resources, significantly compete against legitimate electric and internet resources, do not create family-sustaining jobs, and do not prepare our communities for the realities of climate change or the impacts of decades of environmental injustice in poor and working class communities and communities of color.

We know that environmental and public health harm impacts our people first, worst and hardest, and the impacts of unregulated cryptocurrency mining is no different. We must take action now before cryptocurrency mining takes hold throughout our communities, doing untold harm to public health, the environment and our future.

If you would like to get even more involved in this fight, please email Emily@Cacwny.org



Tonawanda Coke fire needs immediate investigation and air monitoring

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Tonawanda Coke fire needs immediate investigation and air monitoring  

Thick black smoke and a burning rubber stench concerns Clean Air members after afternoon blaze at Tonawanda Coke 

A major fire at the former Tonawanda Coke site was reported late afternoon, August 10th, 2021. Residents in the surrounding neighborhood have posted disturbing photographs of thick black smoke plumes coming from the Tonawanda Coke Site, now owned by Jon Williams of Riverview Innovation and Technology Campus. Community members have reported a noxious odor of what smells like burning rubber during and after the fire. As of 5:15pm, the NYSDEC reported that they are working with local fire departments to assess the environmental impact of the event and whether the fire has been contained. 

Clean Air Coalition of WNY is calling for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to conduct a full scale investigation into the causes of the fire, collect air samples at the site and downwind of the facility in the residential community and create a full audit of the current developer’s safety management protocols. While accidents do happen, such a large scale fire is cause for concern as unaddressed hazardous waste has proven to be a major problem at the site. 

Earlier today I was at the 7-11 on Sheridan and Elmwood Avenue in the Town of Tonawanda and I saw the huge smoke plume coming from the Tonawanda Coke site. The smell was just awful; it smelled like burning oil and rubber. I am deeply concerned about the remediation work being done at the site and want the NYSDEC to get to the bottom of this frightening situation”, Sue Kelley, Clean Air member and City of Tonawanda resident. 

Clean Air members continue to have concerns about the stability of the site and its potential threat to human health and the environment. Tonawanda Coke is one of the most well known hazardous waste sites in the country. In 2014, the site was recognized as the only company in the history of the United States that was found guilty of 14 criminal accounts of violations of the Clean Air Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the federal law that governs ground contamination of hazardous waste. 

 

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The Clean Air Coalition of WNY builds power by developing grassroots leaders who organize their communities to run and win environmental justice and public health campaigns in Western New York.

 



A farewell from Julia – Grassroots Development Organizer

Dear Friends and Comrades,

I’m writing to let you know that Friday, July 16th will be my last day as Clean Air’s Grassroots Development Organizer. Three and a half years ago, I entered Clean Air’s office for the first time… I was interviewed by a group of Clean Air members that told me about their vision to build a community of members and supporters that was strong, loving, and ready to take on the most well-funded adversaries. I feel lucky to have been chosen to help bring that vision to reality over the past several years.

Through the work of Clean Air’s Membership Team and the grassroots development work that I have helped lead, Clean Air has become an even stronger landing spot for hundreds of people in our community to come together and organize for health and justice. I feel confident that as I head onto my next chapter, Clean Air’s inspiring staff and members will continue forward without skipping a beat.

Clean Air’s Membership Team recently put in the work to turn their vision into a mission statement: We believe in the power of organized membership to win liberation for all. We do this through growing our grassroots movement—financially, socially, and physically. We create transformational relationships rooted in mutual interest and lived experiences that enable us to organize for collective wellbeing that centers care, joy, laughter, and celebration.

I feel humbled that I got to be a part of this community that is so caring, creative, and mighty. As I transition out of my staff position at Clean Air, I am excited to continue to organize for our collective wellbeing with each of you.

Thank you for an incredible three and a half years. While I’m leaving my position at Clean Air, I can assure you that I’m not going far. Buffalo is my community and home, and I will be sure to see you at the next rally, protest, training, or event. After Friday, if you wish to reach me, you can email me at juliawhite7@gmail.com.

In continued solidarity,

Julia



The Tonawanda Coke Smoke Stacks Are Down but Remediation is Just Beginning  

The Tonawanda Coke Smoke Stacks Are Down but Remediation is Just Beginning  

Clean Air members gather to celebrate bitter sweet smoke stack victory and see a long road ahead for cleanup and healing 

As the three smoke stacks at Tonawanda Coke are demolished on June 5th, Clean Air members celebrate their victories for action on the site while standing firm in the community’s need for vigilance ahead. While the demolition removes one of the most visible symbols of Tonawanda Coke’s toxic history, the legacy and impact of the site remains on the hearts, minds and bodies of Clean Air members and other area residents.

Clean Air members celebrate the proven power of community organizing resulting in the groundbreaking Community Advisory Group on cleanup at the Tonawanda Coke site which has provided necessary transparency and accountability from parties responsible for the site’s ongoing remediation. Without this advisory board, the community would be beholden to New York State remediation programs that are slow and too often do not meet community needs.

“While the demolition of the stacks may be spectacular and very dramatic, the event doesn’t tell the narrative of over 100 years of harm done to our community. It doesn’t reflect the exhaustive measures expended to force the responsible parties to finally correct epic wrongs.  Remembering the past is the only way forward to guide our future.”, -Gary Schulenberg, Clean Air member and Kenmore resident.

After over a decade of community organizing by residents in Tonawanda, Grand Island, Kenmore and Buffalo, one thing has been made abundantly clear; it takes a sustained pressure of a whole community on the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, elected officials and other stakeholders to put people’s health and dignity above industry profit and the status quo. Clean Air members will continue to hold the NYSDEC, Honeywell, Jon Williams and other polluters across the region accountable to community health and justice.

The transparency and accountability to the community provided by the Tonawanda Coke Working Group has proven to have a direct impact on the speed and quality of all remediation thus far on the site. Site developer Jon Williams of RITC has proven that his company needs to be held accountable and under the watchful eye of community groups due to his decades long lack of action at the American Axle Brownfield site in Buffalo’s Delavan-Grider community. Clean Air members remain skeptical of future action on the American Axle site until and unless a robust and community driven group is established at the site.

“The demolition of the smokestacks shows the power of community organizing by organizations like Clean Air. Before residents got together at kitchen tables, backyards and union halls, Tonawanda Coke was allowed to violate the Clean Air Act and harm our communities with plumes of benzene and other toxic chemicals.  This event today shows that our communities need to remain vigilant for our own health, safety and dignity. Our work to hold all stakeholders, including the NYSDEC and polluters,  accountable will not stop now that the stacks have been toppled”,  Emily Terrana, Clean Air Environmental Justice Organizer

Tonawanda Coke is one of the most well known hazardous waste sites in the country. In 2014, the site was recognized as the only company in the history of the United States that was found guilty of 14 criminal accounts of violations of the Clean Air Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the federal law that governs ground contamination of hazardous waste.

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The Clean Air Coalition builds power by developing grassroots leaders who organize their communities to run and win environmental justice and public health campaigns in Western New York.



Clean Air Coalition Holds Virtual Meeting to Address Safety Concerns during Tonawanda Coke Stack Explosion

Clean Air Coalition Holds Virtual Meeting to Address Safety Concerns during Tonawanda Coke Stack Explosion

Community organization holds urgent public meeting to advise residents on upcoming explosion on neighborhood  hazardous waste site 

On June 5th, 2021 at 6AM the three infamous smoke stacks will be demolished using explosives at the former Tonawanda Coke Site. When announced by developer Jon Williams of Riverview Innovation and Technology Campus, area residents and Clean Air members identified a number of key questions and concerns regarding the notification process and safety concerns of the monumental, though purely symbolic, event.

Clean Air members are holding a virtual community meeting for members of the community to address the pressing questions regarding the early morning demolition on Thursday, May 27th at 5:00 PM. Clean Air members and staff will share critical information for area residents in the spirit of using an abundance of caution while hoping for the best possible outcome during the historic event on June 5th.

“We are disappointed , but not surprised about the lack of critical safety information provided to the community regarding the pending Tonawanda smoke stack demolition. Clean Air Coalition has consistently supported residents; as well as effectively demonstrating that our community’s health and safety is not negotiable. While we are tired of doing other people ‘s jobs , we know that we are the ones who  keep ourselves and our families safe”.

Maria Tisby Clean Air member and Town of Tonawanda resident

For the past decade, Clean Air has undertaken rigorous investigation of the Tonawanda Coke site, leveraging the passion and expertise of its members and other professionals. With a desire for partnership, Clean Air has presented the DEC, Honeywell and Riverview Innovation and Technology Campus with legitimate questions and concerns regarding demolition of the toxic smoke stacks at the Tonawanda Coke site.  As these stakeholders move forward in the process, Clean Air has earned the right to have its claims taken seriously and addressed.

Tonawanda Coke is one of the most well known hazardous waste sites in the country. In 2014 the site was recognized as the only company in the history of the United States that was found guilty of 14 criminal accounts of violations of the Clean Air Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the federal law that governs ground contamination of hazardous waste.

The online meeting will be held Thursday, May 27th from 5-7pm. Register at bit.ly/tccstacks .More information on our safety concerns can be found on our website, www.cacwny.org.

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The Clean Air Coalition builds power by developing grassroots leaders who organize their communities to run and win environmental justice and public health campaigns in Western New York.



Community meeting on safety concerns at Tonawanda Coke stack demolition:

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The infamous stacks at Tonawanda Coke are being demolished using explosives on Saturday, June 5th at 6am. We know that our members will have a lot of safety questions and concerns so we are holding a virtual meeting on Thursday, May 27th from 5-7pm. You can register at bit.ly/tccstacks.
Here’s a few things we know so far so you can share with your community:
  • The demolition is scheduled for Saturday, June 5th at 6am with a weather delay day scheduled for June 6th at 6am.
  • The demolition will use major explosives and will be very loud. The sound will likely travel for a few miles. They are using major explosive equipment to demolish the stacks
  • If you live very close to the stacks, it might be a good idea to close your windows during the explosion.
  • If you think there will be debris on your property, it will likely be hazardous.
  • If you plan to watch the explosion, it might be a good idea to wear a mask and/or goggles.
  • If you have other urgent questions, call DEC at 716.851.7220 and Jon Williams’ engineering firm at 571.752.6559
Please share this information with your friends, family and neighbors. We will be posting updates on our Facebook and website as we learn more information from the source.
Note: Change of location for community explosion watch event:
We will also gather on June 5th at 5:45AM at Fisherman’s Landing in Grand Island (1510 E River Rd, Grand Island, NY 14072) to remember all of those we have lost and to celebrate our organizing power for health and justice
Visit our website at www.cacwny.org for more information.


We’re Still Fighting For Peace in Seneca Babcock

The following is a message from Diane, long-time member leader from Peabody Street, marking the anniversary of us winning the shutdown of Battaglia Demolition!

‘It’s been three years today since Battaglia Corporation on Peabody Street was shut down by Judge Chimes. Unfortunately, we are still in negotiations to get it cleaned up. I have been working with Clean Air to make it a natural habitat. It’s a shame it’s taking so long, but I am still here, and will keep fighting for it!”

Since the 2018 shutdown of Battaglia Demolition, the property has fallen into abandonment, with piles of concrete dust still swirling from the site through the neighborhood air. The derelict property has become a site with illegal dumping, and is now full of garbage and refuse, attracting rats. Residents on Peabody Street are fighting to obtain a comprehensive cleanup and the transfer of the title of the property to a community-owned land trust, which will give them the power to prevent future illegal manufacturing from moving onto the site and disrupting their neighborhood again. A ranked-choice, neighborhood vote in 2020 overwhelmingly chose to name the trust Diane’s Land, in honor of Diane Lemanski, whose tenacity, resilience, and leadership have been the foundation of this work for decades.

The community’s vision is to restore the site to natural use, with soil remediation and plantings to reduce carbon and air pollution in the neighborhood. If you are interested in joining this work, you can fill out this form to get connected to next steps!