We Need Your Help! Join Us October 1st!

We need your help to turn the concrete crushing site on Peabody St. into a community owned land trust!

For a decade residents of Seneca Babcock have fought for their health and quality life. (WATCH this video where members describe their experiences) Battaglia Demolition, which caused tremendous harm to the community closed in 2018.  The company now faces court fines. Help us to bring the land under the control of the community.

Join our meeting online or by phone on October 1st!

Register at  bit.ly/peabodyland or call 852-3813.

Can’t join us online or by phone? Join us at Seneca Street Church at 1218 Seneca St. (corner of Seneca St. & Imson St.)

 

 



Our Public Comment on the Former Tonawanda Coke Sampling Plan

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 Environmental Protection Agency, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Honeywell, and a new developer, Jon Williams and Riverview Innovation and Technology Park, are in the process of remediating the site.

The Clean Air Coalition is calling to ensure that NYSDEC  performs comprehensive evaluation of hazardous contamination. Tonawanda Coke has a nearly 100-year history of toxic contamination, and large portions of the site and its infrastructure remain uncharacterized and unaddressed in this workplan.

Check out our webpage on the site

On Sunday, August 30th 2020 Clean Air submitted our comment to the NYSDEC regarding the Remedial Investigation Work Plan on the Brownfield portion of the property. (to learn more about the remediation process see our short videos here!)

Read our comment! 

Download (PDF, 23.47MB)

 

 



950 Million Reasons We Should Be Mad About Tesla

Today’s Buffalo News article, featuring stories of some of the brave workers we have been organizing with for the last year and a half, is right that we have reasons to be angry.

The $959M of public money that went into renovations, retrofitting, and equipment for Gigafactory 2 was spent with the promise of a new future: clean energy, high quality, well-paying jobs, and an economic transition to bring Buffalo and Western New York into the future. 

Workers, eager to start lifelong careers in a sustainable energy industry that would provide for their families, entered a workplace starkly different from their expectations. Rampant racism and sexual harassment shape the reality in Gigafactory 2, where women and workers of color face scrutiny, punishment, isolation, harassment, are blocked from promotions, and often, are unjustly terminated. This new economy is looking a lot like the old economy.

Tesla makes it abundantly clear that tackling carbon alone is not a solution to climate change. We know that we can not transition to a new and just economy while subsidizing companies and industries that cause harm to Black and Brown people. 

We are proud to fight alongside these workers, and are floored every day by their courage, their vision, and their commitment to fighting for a workplace that uplifts and supports all workers.



Clean Air Comments on Sampling Work Plan for Former American Axle Site

The American Axle site located at 1001 East Delavan Ave. Buffalo, NY is 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.

We joined with residents of the Delavan-Grider community in 2015 to advocate for a full remediation of this site. Clean Air members live and own property directly adjacent to the site, and also live and own property in the immediate vicinity of the site. The Delavan-Grider neighborhood is a historic Black community in the City of Buffalo with a rich history of community leadership, entrepreneurship, and pride. Due to the contamination of this property, our members and their families are afraid to drink their water and plant gardens in their backyards.

Our members have been organizing for a comprehensive remediation for years. The new owner, developer Jon Williams, has put in a sampling plan to the State of New York to renew. This plan, called the Remedial Investigation Work Plan, is in a public comment period. This sampling plan is a foundation to any future site remediation.

Read our Comment on the Remedial Investigation Work Plan below.

Download (PDF, 359KB)

To learn more about the brownfield process, watch our videos on New York State remediation programs!



What You Need to Know To Help Remediate the Former American Axle Site!

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. Families are afraid to drink their water and plant gardens in their backyards.

Our members have been organizing for a comprehensive remediation for years. The new owner, developer Jon Williams, has put in a sampling plan to the State of New York to renew. This plan, called the Remedial Investigation Work Plan, is in a public comment period. This sampling plan is a foundation to any future site remediation. The deadline for this comment has been extended to Monday, August 24th.

Do you want to see this site remediated in a way our community deserves? We need you to comment on or before Monday the 24th!

If you care about the health of the community, write, email or call the Department of Environmental Conservation and tell them that The Remedial Investigation must comprehensively investigate for lead and other metals on this site, as well as investigate off site potential avenues for off site contamination.

We are also urging the state to create a Community Advisory Board that would allow residents and community stakeholders to partner with DEC and the site owner on the full remediation of the full area. 

What you need to know to comment:

What are you commenting on? You are submitting a public comment on the Remedial Investigation Work Plan, or RIWP, for the former American Axle site in the Delavan Grider community in Buffalo. The RI is the plan to investigate how dangerous the site is to human health and the environment. The RIWP describes how the owner will test the site to determine the levels of toxins and geographical location of the contamination and suggests how the owner will remediate it. This is one phase in the process of cleaning up the site. Learn more about the brownfield process by watching this short video!

Who are you commenting to? You are writing a comment to the site manager at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). This is the agency that oversees environmental remediation programs in our state.

Why is this important? The RIWP is an important step in the remediation process. Finding where and how concentrated the waste is will determine if it will be removed, or if it will be capped and buried. If no one knows about it, they can’t remediate it.  The more people that show concern means that the DEC needs to pay more attention. 

How to comment: Comments can be submitted by mail to the site Project Manager, Eugene Melnyk at 270 Michigan Avenue, Buffalo, NY, 14203; via email eugene.melnyk@dec.ny.gov; or by calling 716-851-7220. Make sure you include the site number and the address of the site. 

Comments must be submitted by the deadline, 5pm on Monday August 24th 2020.

If you are an individual see our sample comment below.

Download (PDF, 68KB)

If you are a leader in an organization or community group see our sample comment below.

Download (PDF, 69KB)

 



Clean Air 2020 (Virtual) Nonprofit Finance Training September 15th!

It’s That Time of Year!!

Are you a member of Clean Air who wants to learn how your membership dues are spent?

Are you new to the nonprofit world and want to learn how all the finance stuff works?

Do you want to know how to read nonprofit financial statements and make assessments about an organization?
When you hear the term “projected cash flow” do you get really energized but not know why?

Are you on a nonprofit board and find that only one person asks all of the finance questions…you have no idea what they are asking, and their term expires in 4 months?

Do you want to see the vast number of Jennifer Beals nonprofit memes we made for this event?!

Then this training is for you!

Tuesday, September 15th 5:30-7pm

Register Here!

This training is open to current Clean Air members, donors, board members, organizational partners and staff.

Questions or to RSVP, call Rebecca at 716-852-3813 and register through this link.



Clean Air Members Say No to Amazon

It is doubtful if Amazon’s $10 million offer will even the costs for the immediate infrastructure needed for their warehouse on Grand Island. The tax breaks being given Amazon will do nothing to reduce local taxes. Amazon has a terrible record of underestimating the effects on local communities, including the amount of traffic.

This warehouse facility is totally out of scale with Grand Island and will have negative, long-term effects on air, water, noise, traffic, and ground pollution plus will adversely affect the wildlife environment next to and in Buckhorn Island State Park.

In terms of social justice, Jeff Bezos the richest man in the world, does not pay his fair share of taxes, yet demands his warehouse employees work as if they were robots. Those cheerleading for this massive warehouse share the same mindset as the folks who supported the building of the Robert Moses Parkway and other such local projects, which have destroyed entire areas of Western New York.

More time is needed for independent analysis and study of the project’s impact. Don’t rush to sell the soul of Grand Island for a few pieces of silver.

– Robert Hirsch, Grand Island Resident and Clean Air member

 



How to Comment on the Tonawanda Coke Remedial Investigation – Deadline (Extended)August 30

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) has released the Riverview Innovation and Technology Campus Plan for sampling toxics at the former Tonawanda Coke site.  The sampling plan, known as a Remedial Investigation Work Plan, is the foundational document inside of the Brownfield Cleanup Program that will set the course for future soil, water, air and vegetation sampling, and ultimately the quality of cleanup,  on the site. The plan can be found on the DEC’s website and is now available for a 30-day public comment period.

What are you commenting on? You are submitting a public comment on the the Remedial Investigation Work Plan, or RI, for the former Tonawanda Coke site.. The RI is the plan to investigate how dangerous the site is to human health and the environment. The RI describes how the owner will test the site to determine the levels of toxins and geographical location of the contamination. This is one phase in the process of cleaning up the site. 

Who are you commenting to? You are writing a comment to the site manager at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). This is the agency that oversees environmental remediation programs in our state.

Why is this important? The RI is an important step in the remediation process. Finding where and how concentrated the waste is will determine if it will be removed, or if it will be capped and buried. If no one knows about it, they can’t remediate it.  The more people that show concern means that the DEC needs to pay more attention. 

How to comment: Comments can be submitted by mail to the site Project Manager, Benjamin McPherson, 270 Michigan Ave., Buffalo, NY14203 or email to benjamin.mcpherson@dec.ny.gov using the site name and number: Site Number: C915353 . Riverview Innovation & Technology Campus Brownfield Cleanup Site- Remedial Investigation Work Plan. 

  • Our template and detailed information on how to send a public comment to the DECRemember that all comments must be submitted no later than August 30th and should be sent to DEC Project Manager.
  • Here is the official fact sheet sent out by the DEC on the Remedial Investigation Work Plan
  • Our online petition for the establishment of a Community Advisory Group on Cleanup for the site
  • Our Brownfield process video and handout
  • We have attached a graphic you can share on social media to encourage your friends, family and neighbors to sign onto our petition!
  • Become a member or supporter of Clean Air! We fund our work with grassroots fundraising dollars so we can be accountable to the community.
  • Please email Emily if you would like to talk more about joining our campaign team! This work is not over and we need all hands on deck! Emily@cacwny.org
If you are a member or a representative of an organization and would like to sign on to our organizational support letter, here is the link to fill out. 
 
Be sure to follow us on Facebook and subscribe to our email list for upcoming events and information on our Environmental Justice campaign work throughout the region!


Thank You Legislators Hardwick, Chimera and Baskin!

Last week, the Erie County Legislature heard our community’s research and vision on Tonawanda Coke’s legacy of toxic waste in our region. Through our representatives commitment to our health, dignity and safety, our voices were heard and our calls for a Community Advisory Board at Tonawanda Coke and American Axle are more possible than ever before!

Erie County Legislators Kevin Hardwick, Lisa Chimera and April Baskin have shown incredible leadership in ensuring our community’s voices are heard as we move forward in healing the legacy of hazardous waste in our neighborhoods.

 Waste at the former American Axle site has been leaking over 100,000 gallons of carcinogenic PCB’s into a sewer that runs underneath a neighborhood for generations. The creation of a Community Advisory Group will increase transparency as the site continues to be remediated, and improve accountability to the residents living next to the facility.

Tonawanda Coke has caused tremendous quality of life issues in our community, including decades of land, air and water pollution, worker’s harm and fatalities, and now leaves us with a legacy of contamination. The current proposals for cleanup and restoration of the site must center community input and a rigorous and thorough testing protocol that guarantees a higher and better use of the site for generations to come.

Clean Air is incredibly grateful for our hardworking Erie County Legislators’ support of our resolution for our comments to the NYSDEC for a full and robust cleanup at these sites and for their commitment to democracy by way of a Community Advisory Group on clean up at both Tonawanda Coke and American Axle.

Join Us in Sharing Your Thanks To Our Representatives Today!

Our Legislators need to hear your thanks for their bravery in standing up for our communities! Can you take a moment to call, email or tweet your support for Legislators Baskin, Chimera and Hardwick today? Their contact information and a sample script can be found here.

Sign our petition to establish a community advisory group!

Our Tonawanda Coke Team and American Axle Team are gathering support for a community advisory group at these sites. This would give us a voice during the cleanup processes and make sure the site is fully cleaned up and safe.

Would you be willing to sign our petition and share it with your friends and family?

Become a Sustaining Member or Supporter Today!

At Clean Air, we fund this work from the ground up while we simultaneously build the power of our people and community. We know that together, we have the power to demand justice and reimagine a world that works for all of us.

Will you join us as a sustaining member or supporter at $5, $10, or $20 a month?



Will Toxic Sampling Plan Be Enough to Address the Legacy Of Hazardous Waste at Tonawanda Coke?

Community organization calls to ensure that Honeywell International performs comprehensive evaluation of hazardous contamination 

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) has released the Riverview Innovation and Technology Campus Plan for sampling toxics at the former Tonawanda Coke site.  The sampling plan, known as a Remedial Investigation Work Plan, is the foundational document inside of the Brownfield Cleanup Program that will set the course for future soil, water, air and vegetation sampling, and ultimately the quality of cleanup,  on the site. The plan can be found on the DEC’s website and is now available for a 30-day public comment period. 

The Clean Air Coalition is calling to ensure that Honeywell International performs comprehensive evaluation of hazardous contamination. Tonawanda Coke has a nearly 100-year history of toxic contamination, and large portions of the site and its infrastructure remain uncharacterized and unaddressed in this workplan.

Clean Air Coalition members are encouraging residents to submit comments to the DEC to share their thoughts and concerns regarding the proposed testing plan. Clean Air has been working with community members, environmental scientists, certified hydrologists, civil engineers, and former workers  to deeply review over 100 years of site history and contamination. Clean Air members are also calling for the DEC to establish a Community Advisory Board in line with Federal Superfund Standards that would give community members and other stakeholders review, comment and decision making powers over the testing and remediation work done on the Superfund and Brownfield sites. 

“The NYSDEC is required to keep residents safe and secure. Now is the time for the community to weigh in. Our community has institutional knowledge on the extensive history of contamination on this site and the NYSDEC needs to incorporate what we know in the sampling plan moving forward.  We need a robust sampling plan that addresses all areas of concern, or else we won’t except the remediation remedy” – Emily Terrana, Clean Air 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. 

Tonawanda Coke has caused tremendous quality of life issues in our community, including decades of land, air and water pollution, worker’s harm and fatalities, and now leaves us with a legacy of contamination. The current proposals for cleanup and restoration of the site must center community input and a rigorous and thorough testing protocol that guarantees a higher and better use of the site for generations to come. 

“In environmental restoration, we really only get one chance in our lifetime to get it right. Doing it the cheapest and fastest way is not only disrespectful but unjust to ourselves and our future. It cripples any higher and better future use and costs good jobs and vibrant economy. The Tonawanda Coke site along the Niagara River deserves better than that. Abandoned properties significantly impact our neighborhoods and communities and we should be able to have a say about the future when our tax money is being used. What is in the public’s best interest?” -James Jones, Clean Air member and Tonawanda resident.

In 2020, the Tonawanda Coke site was split into four distinct parcels for remediation: three are now part of the State Superfund Program, and the remaining parcel has been accepted into the State’s Brownfield Cleanup Program. Notably, the Superfund sites’ (sites 108, 109 and 110) remediation costs are being paid for by the primary polluter, Honeywell International Inc. The 86 acre Brownfield portion is being remediated by Riverview Innovation & Technology Campus and OSC, who’s costs will be cushioned by New York State taxpayers. For more information on the NYS Brownfield and Superfund Programs see this video.

The Clean Air Coalition will be holding an informational meeting with the community to share their areas of concerns for cleanup and how to submit a comment to the DEC.

The online meeting will be held Thursday, July 9th at 6pm. Register at bit.ly/tccpublicmeeting