$60K TO FIGHT IN FLIGHT

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Join us today so we can continue the fight tomorrow – and every day after that. Renew your membership or support to Clean Air, and your gift will go twice as far. Every dollar raised will be matched dollar-for-dollar, until we reach our goal!

Visit cacwny.org/donate or cacwny.org/become-a-member today! 



We Choose to Believe in the Power of Organizing

The people of this country – led by communities of color – have fired Donald Trump. 

We choose to believe in the power of organizing. Despite egregious voter suppression, the strength of American democracy has been upheld by the millions of people that stood in voting lines for hours on end , and the hard work of movement builders who, for the past four years, have fought harder than ever to stop the erosion of civil protections for our people. And let’s be clear: defeating Trump was a movement win, not a win for the Democratic establishment. 

Now is not the time to rest. Over the past 4 years, protections to our health, and environment have been eroded and we are on shakier ground than ever. While we have maintained a resemblance of our democracy, we must be clear that the reality of a Biden Administration also does not serve our friends and neighbors the way we need it to. 

Our democracy is far from perfect. This no surprise given our country was built by and for the wealthy and elite. We have seen its corruption over and over again. 

And we see it all the time, right here in WNY, when governments do not hold corporations accountable for making poor and working class white communities and communities of color sick, exposing us to pollution and hazardous waste; when people of color and women are kept from advancing in publicly subsidized workplaces like Tesla; and when our Mayor, police department and holding center are allowed to systemically enable officers and racist citizens to take Black lives. 

But despite all odds, in this imperfect system that has beaten so many of our people down, we continue to show up. We continue to turn out, day in and day out, because we know that institutions are only as strong as we demand them to be. Because this is our country, and we are not going anywhere.

Throughout his campaign, Joe Biden has made many commitments to the Environmental Justice communities where our members live. He has stated that all Americans should have a fair shot at getting ahead. He has called for energy and environmental policy to advance public health and economic opportunities. He has called for an overhaul of the EPA External Civil Rights Compliance Office, and stated he will strengthen pollution laws to reduce the disproportionate impact on poor and working class white communities and communities of color. 

While his promises are a good start towards the world we’re fighting for,  we know campaign promises often go undelivered. It is our job to make sure a Biden Administration holds to these commitments, and to spend the next 4 years fighting for a country and economy that centers our health and dignity.

 We must continue to work to change the conditions that make Black communities more vulnerable to COVID, that leave poor and working class white communities and communities of color exposed to pollution and hazardous waste, that keep people of color and women from advancing in the workplace, and that systemically enable police officers and racist citizens to take Black lives. 

 This is only the beginning. Now is the time to show up to ensure that Biden keeps the promises that he made on the campaign trail. 

We know the road ahead will not be easy. Our movement is going to have to fight hard against a Biden administration – and we’re up against an emboldened and organized Right. More white people voted for Trump in 2020 than in 2016 and the Right will not let up for a single second. We’ve got our work to do to continue to organize more of our people away from white supremacy and towards a world where we can all be free.



Make Sure Every Vote is Counted

At 2:30am, Donald Trump did what he has threatened to do for months– declare that he will remain President and insist that votes stop being counted even though the ballots of millions of Americans had yet to be tallied. Trump has spent months discrediting our electoral process, lying about mail-in votes and calling them fraudulent. Days before the election, Trump implied he would “go all in” and mount legal challenges to disrupt the vote, before all votes were in. Let’s be clear: if Trump is allowed to remain in power without counting all votes, this is an illegitimate, stolen election.

Presidents don’t decide elections. Voters do. The outcome is unclear in six swing states — Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — and all are still counting votes. Until every vote is counted, this election is not over.  

Our democracy is far from perfect. This no surprise given that it was built by and for the wealthy and elite. We have seen its corruption over and over again. In 2000, when less than 550 Floridian votes decided a flawed election while Florida’s right leaning court refused a recount.  We have seen it through voter suppression and intimidation carried out over the past several months. And we see it all the time, right here in WNY, when corporations and polluters are not held accountable for making poor and working class white communities and communities of color sick, exposing us to pollution and hazardous waste; when people of color and women from are kept from advancing in the workplaces like Tesla; and when our police department and holding center are allowed to systemically enable officers and racist citizens to take Black lives. 

But despite all odds, in this imperfect system that has beaten so many of our people down, we continue to show up. We continue to turn out, day in and day out, because we know that institutions are only as strong as we demand them to be. Because this is our country, and we’re not going anywhere.

We choose to believe the power of organizing. Despite possibly the most egregious voter suppression in our country’s history, the strength of the American democracy has been upheld by the millions of people that stood in voting lines for hours on end, the millions of calls to people in GA, PA, and swing states across the country ensuring voters had the information and resources they needed to cast their vote, and the hard work of movement builders who, for the past four years, have fought harder than ever to stop the erosion of civil protections for our people. 

At this moment, we cannot stand on the sidelines. The chaos and confusion caused by the President refusing to honor the democratic process is a strategic choice to make us feel confused, overwhelmed, and powerless.

But we are not powerless. We are powerful. We are stronger than they are, and we always have been. And right now, we have a choice. We are either on the side of freedom and democracy, or the side of corruption and suppression. We can choose what is easy, or what is right. What is just or what is immoral. This is not about red or blue, this is about democracy or facisim. The people of this country have spoken, and that voice needs to be heard, respected and followed.

At Clean Air, we know that our members have many differences. We differ along class, race and party lines, but what unites us is our belief in our shared values and our vision for a brighter, better and more democratic future for all of us. No matter who you voted for this election, we have a duty to carry out the will of the American people. We have a moral responsibility to uphold democracy. If we chose to stay silent, we are causing harm, and that is not who we are. 

We know that our voices matter. The voices and hard work of everyday people stopped silica dust from entering our homes and our lungs, benzene and PCBs from entering our communities and the racism and sexism of workplaces from staying buried and hidden. But this is about much more than what we are against, this is about what we are organizing for. We are fighting for clean air and water, healthy communities where everyone has what they need, for workplaces that provide family sustaining wages and dignity for all workers. Right now, we need to fight for all of that and more. We need to organize and fight for the future of our democracy. 

Your voice matters. Your body, on the street at a protest or on the phone providing support, matters. Your calls to elected officials matter. Your participation in a general strike matters. Whatever role you decide to play in this movement, play it and play it well. We’re not being trite, you really do matter. You have skills, talents and a network that count in this moment more than ever before. Do you do well on the phone? Do you have a big family or group of friends or access to a listserv? Can you sew? Can you cook? Do you have a lot of extra cardboard boxes in your house? Do you feel safe driving at night? We need you, all of you, to see this through.

Here are two ways you can get involved in this moment:

Join the New Georgia Project Phonebanks: Hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots could be rejected this November because of mistakes, such as mismatched signatures or name changes. Help us ensure that every vote is counted as we call voters to inform them of how they can track and, if needed, cure their ballot. Register Here.

Join Our Election Debrief Thursday afternoon: If you are a member who wants to debrief the election, and how you can show up in this moment. Join us on zoom or by phone Thursday 4:30pm to be together, process and discuss ways we can save our democracy. Register here.



Vote On Our Values!

Early voting is open Saturday, October 24, 2020 – Sunday, November 1, 2020

Our communities have dealt with crisis after crisis this year. From the COVID-19 pandemic to the global uprising for Black lives and the ongoing climate crisis, we have been asked time and time again to turn and face ourselves, our neighbors and people that we do not know and ask ourselves “how do we move forward”? We have had to make decisions this year, large and small, around what we have to do to keep our communities safe, healthy and strong. This election, we have the same choices and question in front of us–how do we move forward?
We have learned hard lessons during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have learned the value of data, science and medicine. We have been shown the value of everyday workers such as those who work in hospitals, grocery stores, schools and laundromats. We have seen the ways in which we have shown up for one another by delivering groceries and medicine to those in need, to those who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. When we banded together, we moved forward. 
We have also seen what happens when our elected officials do not move swiftly to provide the basic needs of all people–death, loss of jobs, continued and worsening illness of those of us living and working in environmental justice areas, and a slow and uncertain path forward. We know that we may never be able to get back to “normal”, and we don’t want to go back to the normal of before COVID-19. Normal never served us. 
When we were overwhelmed with the weight of the world, our members turned to one another and asked the same question; “how do we move forward”? The answer was clear: we need to center the values we hold at Clean Air and use them as our guiding star for all that we do during a time of uncertainty.
At Clean Air, our work is rooted in our values, and our values come from who we are. As a working-class, queer and women-led staff, our passion for and experiences with fighting for environmental justice and liberation colors all that we do. We know what it is to create community, care for one another through hard times and build a more beautiful and clear vision for the world that we all deserve.
So, how do we move forward? We move forward united through our differences and standing in our values. Our members have many differences but what connects us all is our belief in a world where our environment promotes health and equity and where systems place communities at the forefront of decision-making. We do the work that we are passionate about, the work that lifts all of us up and makes us stronger together.
As a nonprofit organization, we are not able to tell you who to vote for, but we urge you to stand in your values and the values of Clean Air and remember what is at stake past November 3rd. Clean air and water. Racial justice and equity. A vision for a new green economy that provides family sustaining wages and healthy workplaces. The joy, dignity and health of our people. And, most importantly, the possibility of a more perfect union and democracy for all. On November 3rd, and every day after that, we will stand strong in what we know to be true for all of us–that is how we move forward. 
We ask you to join us and vote on your values this election, up and down the ballot. Our vote is one way that we show our power and achieve our shared goals. Our voices, our dreams, our votes, matter.
Early voting is now open in New York State until Sunday, November 1st. You can find a list of polling places in Erie County here, and Niagara County here. For additional nonpartisan resources on voting and voting safely during the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit the Erie County Board of Elections or New York State Board of Elections sites. You can find our nonpartisan voting resource guide, being added to daily, here.
Ever forward,
Clean Air


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)