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 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!
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


Attorney General James Files Injunction Against Trump’s EPA Order

The Clean Air Coalition stands behind the New York Attorney General James’  preliminary injunction motion filed with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on June 8th, 2020. Nine million people in New York State alone live in vulnerable zones close to facilities that are regulated by the EPA and are currently more vulnerable to COVID-19 due to air and water pollution. Attorney General James’ swift actions to protect the health and dignity of environmental justice communities in New York and throughout the nation is a beacon of hope for poor and working class people and people of color living on the borders of toxic and dangerous industries.  Read more in the Buffalo News.

The preliminary injunction motion, more commonly known as a “cease and desist”, follows AG James and a coalition of eight other states across the country’s landmark lawsuit filed on May 13th 2020 in response to the EPA’s broad suspension of environmental protections and regulation reporting requirements on March 26th, 2020.

As our country faces the impacts of systemic racism on Black people and other people of color, it is our duty to place the blame where blame is due. The disregard for the health, dignity and safety of communities of color and poor and working class white communities is a direct symptom of a white supremacist culture that values profit over people’s lives. The EPA’s suspension of environmental laws and regulations is directly tied to a legacy of cutting public services, public health and holistic public safety programs, laws and policies that benefit Black, people of color and poor and working class white people for the sake of profit and control of the white, owning class.

It remains critically important that the State of New York follow the lead of environmental justice communities in calling the EPA’s suspension of environmental regulations what it is; a callous and cruel disregard for the health and wellbeing of communities of color and poor and working class people during a public health pandemic. Our members throughout Western New York depend on the EPA to do their job to keep us safe.

Clean Air applauds Attorney General James’ suit which outlines the direct impact the EPA’s actions have had and will have on communities of color, and white poor and working class people, living in environmental justice communities. Attorney General James’ preliminary injunction motion will begin again the necessary work of reporting and enforcement that the EPA is charged with for our people.

Read the full complaint below

Download (PDF, 606KB)

Thank you! Join us in committing to take action.

Hello comrades and friends, 

Thank you so much for joining us for Clean Air’s event, Growing Strong Together: An Open House to Root our Power. Over 60 of us came together during an incredibly difficult time… in the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Tony McDade and with hundreds of thousands of people taking to the streets to demand justice, the end to white supremacy, and the end to systematic racism. 

A week later, we write this email one day after Buffalo City Council Members approved a budget that allocates ⅓ of our municipal funds to the Buffalo Police Department. We have joined with our friend’s at Black Love Resists in the Rust to demand the City of Buffalo decrease funding to the Buffalo Police Department and increase funding for community needs like schools, programs, mental health services, and affordable housing. 

We are beyond disappointed that this budget was approved. We are angry. And we are committed to demand more from our leaders. Will you join us in demanding more now and into the future?

Below is information about how to take action. Additionally, please take five minutes to let us know what you thought of the Open House by filling out the event evaluation form: HERE






When our work is funded from the ground up, it not only ensures that we maintain power over the decisions we make and the actions we take, but it is also one of the most powerful tools we have in building grassroots community power. If we continue to have authentic and honest connections, creating real relationships with one another, we will build the collective power necessary to stop injustice AND reimagine a world that we can all live in. And so we invite you to join us by becoming a member or supporter today. 



  • Tonawanda Coke: Please sign our petition for the DEC to create a Community Advisory Board at Tonawanda Coke. If you are a member of another organization, church group or businesses and would like to send an organizational letter of support, please email
  • Tesla: Support our campaign to hold Tesla accountable for racism and sexual harassment. Sign our petition
  • American  Axle: Learn more about our campaign to fully remediate the former American Axle site in Delevan Grider. 
  • Huntley & Tonawanda Tomorrow: Join our team to help reimagine Tonawanda! Email 
  • Battaglia: Support our campaign to form a land trust on the former Battaglia site in Seneca Babcock. Sign our petition. 


For more information, email or call 716-852-3813. 


In love and Solidarity, 


The Clean Air Staff and Member Leaders

How to Take Action Today

As we mourn the life of George Floyd, we are in solidarity with those in the streets in Minneapolis and Louisville, and with the Black liberation movement that is working to destroy white supremacy, and free us all.

Monday night, George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis police. On Wednesday, Tony McDade, a trans man, was murdered by Tallahassee police. These brutal killings follow the murder of Breonna Taylor, who was in bed when Louisville police barged into her home in the middle of the night and shot her eight times, the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot and killed while going for a run in a Georgia suburb, the heinous actions of Amy Cooper in Central Park and centuries of police abuse and violence targeted against Black and communities of color.

We are living in a moment of very visible state violence.

The work Clean Air teams are doing to hold corporations and polluters accountable and the fight against racist violence and police murders are deeply connected: each is a branch from a larger tree rooted in our society and America that is being exposed.

We are doing this 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.

We are doing our part in exposing a larger, glaring problem that needs to be addressed. Our organizing is coming right on time.

Here are actions you can take today:

1) Take action requested by Black organizers on the front lines in Minneapolis:

2) Support Black and Brown organizing in Buffalo, NY. Make a donation to Black Love Resists in the Rust, the only intentional space for Black and Brown folks in Buffalo working to minimize and reduce the harm caused by the Buffalo Police.

3) If you are a white person who wants to do something now, read and share 5 Ways White People Can Take Action in Response to White and State Sanctioned Violence. Share it and encourage a friend, family member or organization to take action with you.

We know those in power rely on keeping those of us silent, and separated from movements for justice. If you’ve never taken action, now’s a great time to start. And if you’re already deep in the work, now is the time to bring new people into our movement.

With Love and Solidarity,

Clean Air Staff: Rebecca, Linnea, Emily and Julia
Co-Authored by Marcus Thompson, Clean Air member

Member Handbook

Download (PDF, 1.76MB)

We are excited to share with you Clean Air’s Member Handbook! At Clean Air, we recognize that developing the leadership of our people is key to transforming individual resources into the collective power necessary to build the world we need and want to live in. While we fight like hell for justice, we also foster a loving community that takes the time to appreciate, recognize and celebrate our people. Join us today by becoming a member:

NYS Attorney General Sues EPA Over Suspension of Environmental Enforcement

This afternoon New York Attorney General James, with a coalition of nine attorney generals, filed a lawsuit against Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) challenging its new policy to stop enforcing requirements under a wide range of federal environmental laws due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis.The lawsuit, which was filed today in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, includes the attorneys general of California, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Virginia, and Vermont.

This lawsuit comes shortly after a letter was sent to the NYSAG from over 50 environmental, labor and community organizations, who urged for legal action after foundational environmental laws were suspended in March. 

“We are grateful for this courageous and necessary action taken by NYS AG James to protect the health of New Yorkers” said Rebecca Newberry, Executive Director of Clean Air Coalition of Western New York.There are over 350 regulated facilities in Western New York alone.  There are thousands of people who live next to large polluters who rely on EPA enforcement to protect our health.”

The EPA’s policy states that the federal government does not intend to take enforcement action against companies that violate provisions of environmental laws such as the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Safe Drinking Water Acts, provided that the companies link COVID-19 to their non-compliance. The lawsuit argues that this policy is overly broad, lacks transparency and accountability, and will result in higher pollution emissions by industry and corresponding negative impacts on public health and the environment.

“We’re grateful that AG James is once again standing up to Trump and defending New Yorkers. This sends a clear message to the White House and to polluters that using a public health crisis as an opportunity to poison our environment and communities will not be tolerated, Jonathan Bix, Executive Director of Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson

Suspending federal laws that are put in place to protect public health will put more New Yorker’s lives at risk. A recent study of Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health found Coronavirus patients in areas that had high levels of air pollution before the pandemic are more likely to die from the infection than patients in less polluted parts of the country. Further emissions from polluters in communities will exacerbate an already untenable public health problem in neighborhoods throughout the state. 

Attorney General James has shown that New Yorkers will not stand for the Trump administration’s callous disregard for the health and dignity of our communities. This is a historic day for all environmental justice communities throughout the nation who have long dealt with abuse, neglect and harm caused by corporations who put their profit lines over public health.  Attorney General James and her coalition of states who have joined this landmark lawsuit have defended the lives of thousands of poor and working class people during the COVID-19 crisis and should be applauded for their bravery and swift action,” said Emily Terrana, Organizer, Clean Air Coalition.