Moving Forward Together

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We have a goal to raise $10,000 between now and August 15th to ensure that we are moving forward in the right direction. Can you join us?

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Rebuttal to Buffalo Rising Series Advocating Against Unregulated Cryptocurrency Mining and Against A.7389C/S.6486D for

  • You may have read the three-part coverage on Buffalo Rising earlier this month written in large part by Foundry Digital, a Bitcoin mining firm, which actively advocated against A.7389C/S.6486D, even going so far as to include a form letter for people to copy and send to Governor Hochul urging her to veto the bill. 
  • In response, we wrote and submitted this rebuttal, including our own call for letters of support for A.7389C/S.6486D. Unfortunately, Buffalo Rising declined to publish our rebuttal, so we are instead posting it here to our organization’s blog. Please share widely to help us dispel industry propaganda about this bill and about this issue.

 

As advocates for environmental justice and public health, and in response to the recent featured series on the Cryptocurrency Mining Industry, The Clean Air Coalition of WNY would like to offer an alternative perspective for the public from that of Foundry Digital on this issue and on the related bill, A.7389C/ S. 6486D, which we strongly encourage Governor Hochul to sign into law.

We were first made aware of this issue by the residents immediately surrounding the Fortistar North Tonawanda Power Plant, a methane gas-burning “peaker” power plant which has historically been used intermittently when our power grid is under strain due to heavy loads, such as during high temperatures when AC use increases. Although only running under these rare circumstances, this plant still pumps an average of 19,000 tons of CO2 annually1 into our atmosphere in addition to other hazardous pollutants.

Residents contacted us to help them raise the alarm about plans to directly sell this power station to Digihost, a Canadian cryptocurrency company which relies on the Proof-of-Work method to “mine” Bitcoins2, which would shift the use of this power station from this intermittent public use to 24/7/365 for privatized “behind the meter use”.

If the Public Service Commission of NY, (the statewide public utilities commission that regulates and oversees our electric, gas, water, and telecommunication industries), allows this sale3, this new use will significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions as well as particulate matter, directly impacting the public health of these surrounding residents as well as undermining efforts to meet our statewide climate goals set by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, a groundbreaking bill passed in 2019 which, among other major benchmarks, commits our state to 100% zero-emission electricity by 2040.

The more we learned about this issue, the more alarmed we became – we learned, for example, that in Dresden NY, on the shore of Seneca Lake, an investment firm, Atlas Holdings, very similarly purchased a coal-fired power plant that had been retired for several years, converted it to methane gas, and repurposed it solely for Proof-of-Work based Bitcoin mining4. With less than 10 years to halve global greenhouse gas emissions and “secure a liveable future”5 according to the IPCC, we added over 220,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide to our atmosphere in 2020 alone at this facility, all by mining Bitcoin. In the press release from June 30, when the DEC denied the renewal of the facilities Title V air permit, they noted that “…this natural gas-fired facility’s continued operations would be inconsistent with the statewide greenhouse gas emission limits established in the Climate Act” 6

We also learned that Erie, Niagara and Chautauqua County are home to half the documented number of POW-based cryptocurrency mines in NYS, that NYS alone has more of these operations than most nations do globally, and that EarthJustice has identified at least 30 former fossil fuel plants in New York which, without regulatory action, could potentially be used to power cryptocurrency mines7 – hardly a “localized controversy” limited to Greenidge as stated in the Buffalo Rising column on June 23rd.8

We learned that, in the absence of state or federal regulation, small local governments have been forced to develop regulations and oversight of these operations, spending limited local funds and resources to try to rein in this industry using the limited tools available to them, like zoning codes and noise ordinances9 – Dresden NY, for example, is a town of only 308 people, and it is hardly fair that a municipality of this size has had to take on the responsibility of developing regulations for this industry in the absence of statewide or federal action.

Speaking of noise, we also quickly learned that cryptocurrency mines directly cause a quality of life issue for area residents, namely the noise from cooling systems for the computers10 – Niagara Falls recently enacted a short term moratorium on all new cryptocurrency operations primarily because of related noise complaints and the need to develop local regulations.11 Prolonged noise above 70 decibels can cause permanent hearing loss.12

We learned that, despite the present slump, the exponential power demands of POW-based cryptocurrency mining currently consume 93.1 TWH of power, which is more than the entire power needs for the nation of Finland, or the power needs for all the lighting we use in the United States!13 In Plattsburg, this power consumption caused electricity prices for residents to spike, which spurred a municipal moratorium on all cryptocurrency mining14 and, while still an emerging issue of study, many experts on the power grid worry that this added strain may overwhelm our power systems and contribute to brownouts, as has happened in other nations15 – research is crucial to prevent such a catastrophe.

We learned that Proof of Work isn’t even the only means to “mine” for Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies – Proof of Work is essentially a competitive race between computers, with a winner-takes-all award system. Proof of Stake is a similar method for mining, but one that is cooperative, where miners take instead take turns. We encourage watching this short, easily digestible video which explains the difference between Proof of Work and Proof of Stake succinctly, but in short the power consumption needs for the POW-based industry, as mentioned above, are the equivalent of nations, whereas the POS-based industry power consumption is closer to that of small towns.

We further learned that one of the reasons for the popularity of POW operations in WNY is our legacy of heavy industry which has left us burdened with a copious amount of hazardous waste sites (ie brownfields) in need of clean-up and that the data centers that POW operations are run from do not require as stringent a level of clean up as other site uses.16 The relatively lower land cost, clean-up costs, and industrial connections to utilities make these sites very attractive to data center developers, and in isolated areas, data centers and brownfields are well suited pairings – however, as a direct result of our nation’s discriminatory and racist land use practices, many brownfields are located adjacent to neighborhoods, and when we choose to not conduct a clean up to the level that we are capable of in residential areas, we are perpetuating generational environmental racism

We also learned that the power consumption, and especially the industry practice of purchasing fossil fuel power stations for private use may potentially undercut the goals of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act and undermine all other efforts to reduce our statewide greenhouse gas emissions17 – it is this most egregious practice which we have seen at Greenidge in Dresden NY and Fortistar in North Tonawanda, and this preventable contribution to the existential threat of climate change, which spurred the recent statewide legislation.

But most importantly, we learned from the adjacent residents that they were opposed to this use at this facility, that they fear for the impact on their personal health and well being as well of that of their neighbors and community, and that they need our collective support to fight back. At Clean Air, we value resident knowledge and grassroots organizing power – when people most impacted by an issue have concerns, we believe it is our duty to listen to them and work for our collective health and justice. 

A.7389C/ S. 6486D is a very limited, targeted, common-sense bill. Despite what the industry representatives like Foundry may claim, and unlike the broader moratoriums enacted piecemeal by various municipalities throughout the state, this is not a bill that is designed to put a full moratorium on the cryptocurrency mining industry. Miners relying on alternative, less power consuming validation methods like Proof of Stake would be unaffected, as would any miners who rely on privately-owned or grid-based renewable energy sources. It wouldn’t even stop existing behind the meter fossil fuel powered POW-based operations from running under their current permits or with grid-based fossil fuel based power! 

A.7389C/ S. 6486D specifically hones in on the new or expanded use of privatized fossil fuel-based power stations (ie, the practice by the industry of purchasing methane gas or coal fired power plants for the sole private use of Proof-of-Work based cryptocurrency mining) over just the next two years while a Draft Environmental Impact Study is conducted on the use of Proof-of-Work blockchain validation and any impact it may have on our CLCPA goals, so that we, the residents of NYS, can not only look further into what we have learned so far, but also research the other unanswered questions we still have, and then take any appropriate regulatory measures to protect our environment and climate – in short, the polar opposite of a “far-reaching and set a dangerous legal precedent of banning new industries in New York without proper research and investigation”, as stated in the Buffalo Rising column on June 23rd

If Governor Hochul signs the bill it would help shift the balance of power to the people of the state of NY, prevent further unregulated expansion of this industry temporarily, and give us the research and framework we need to develop statewide regulations – why is this industry so afraid to operate under the same public health and environmental justice regulations that every other industry has to?

As Good Neighbors, we stand with the residents of North Tonawanda and of all residents living adjacent to these facilities, and we strongly support A.7389C/ S. 6486D. If you do as well, please take a moment now to send a letter to Governor Hochul using our one-click toolkit – 

https://actionnetwork.org/letters/governor-hochul-stop-the-crypto-industry-from-frying-the-planet 

If interested in offering direct support to the residents of North Tonawanda, you can also contact our Environmental Justice Organizer, Bridge Rauch, at bridge@cacwny.org, or you can join the Clean Air Coalition of WNY as a member by visiting https://www.cacwny.org/become-a-member/ 

Endnotes

  1. https://data.ny.gov/Energy-Environment/Title-V-Emissions-Inventory-Beginning-2010/4ry5-tfin/data
  2. https://buffalonews.com/news/local/canadian-cryptocurrency-company-plans-to-buy-north-tonawanda-power-plant/article_8b9a8eba-e8b0-11eb-a010-2354a7440301.html
  3. https://documents.dps.ny.gov/public/MatterManagement/CaseMaster.aspx?MatterCaseNo=21-M-0238&CaseSearch=Search
  4. https://grist.org/technology/bitcoin-greenidge-seneca-lake-cryptocurrency/
  5. https://www.ipcc.ch/2022/04/04/ipcc-ar6-wgiii-pressrelease/
  6. https://www.dec.ny.gov/press/125678.html
  7. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-crypto-currency-usa-environment-idUSKBN2CU0ZE
  8. https://www.buffalorising.com/2022/06/the-future-of-nys-crypto-industry-is-in-gov-hochuls-hands/
  9. https://www.politico.com/news/2022/05/19/cryptocurrency-mining-blossoms-in-upstate-new-york-but-it-hasnt-been-well-received-00033354
  10. https://buffalonews.com/news/local/residents-complain-of-noise-as-north-tonawanda-bitcoin-plant-tests-operations/article_6510b50a-94bb-11ec-ad8b-9fdce6c58869.html
  11. https://buffalonews.com/news/local/niagara-falls-bitcoin-site-agrees-to-tone-down-the-noise/article_04b0016c-4c9e-11ec-94a6-570a11f0ffd3.html
  12. https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/hearing_loss/what_noises_cause_hearing_loss.html
  13. https://ccaf.io/cbeci/index
  14. https://www.wamc.org/north-country-news/2019-03-05/plattsburgh-ends-cryptocurrency-moratorium
  15. https://fortune.com/2021/10/27/bitcoin-energy-consumption-rolling-disaster/
  16. https://www.epa.gov/sites/default/files/2019-10/documents/cleaning_up_brownfield_sites.pdf
  17. https://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/administration_pdf/cryptocurrency.pdf


Welcome Phil!

Welcome Phil!

We are so excited to welcome Phil Gambini as our new Just Transition Organizer! Phil will be working with our Tesla Team and leading our work for a fair, just and equitable transition.

Phil has been a member of Clean Air since 2022. He’s worked in landscaping, restaurants and journalism, but graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he made everything from woodblock prints to social justice documentaries. Prior to joining Clean Air, Phil spent nearly a decade reporting on local government, pollution, police accountability, and the federal detention of immigrants in Western New York. He believes challenging power is not only noble work — but vital to building and upholding an equitable and just community.
Phil was born and raised in Buffalo, NY with two siblings and parents that instilled respect for art and advocacy. His father was a longtime host on Buffalo’s NPR member station, today working in the University at Buffalo press office and producing his own jazz show. His mother, a nurse, is a vocal labor leader. She has served as president of her union, CWA Local 1168, since 2012.
Phil currently resides in the city’s West Side, where you can typically find him in a cafe or under a tree with a book and notebook.

 

Join us in welcoming Phil to our team! Send him an email at Phil@cacwny.org



Supreme Court Decision on WV vs. EPA puts WNY Communities at risk from Environmental Harms

Supreme Court Decision on WV vs. EPA puts WNY Communities at risk from Environmental Harms

Clean Air strongly condemns the partisan decision from the US Supreme Court on West Virginia vs EPA. The decision sets back our movements for a Just Transition by limiting the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate fossil fuel emissions and future cleaner energy production. This is a dark day for our country. 

Our communities are clear: we need a Just Transition away from fossil fuels towards green, family and community sustaining jobs that protect public health and the planet. In 2012, the Huntley Alliance heard the death rattle of the larger coal industry and worked hard, together, to form a plan and vision for the impending closure of the plant. When the Huntley coal fired power plant was set to shut its doors in 2015, our communities were ready with a robust plan to protect our people. In short, we knew that a transition was inevitable, but justice was not. 

The West Virginia vs. EPA decision today is a major step backwards for our movements for climate and environmental justice, and our larger need for a Just Transition. The decision prolongs the life of dying industries and delays the urgent need for our communities to plan for and build real solutions for clean, green and family sustaining jobs.  Federal agencies’ authority and ability to regulate and enforce environmental laws is critical for our communities. Without robust authority, fossil fuel interests will continue to fill our peoples’ lungs with toxic and dangerous chemicals while they line their pockets and pad their bottom lines. The decision today severely limits the EPA’s ability to regulate fossil fuel emissions, especially from coal related industries, which will have a devastating and dangerous impact on our people. 

Furthermore, the Supreme Court decision continues to plunge us deeper down their toxic sludge slippery slope into the fascist right-wing and 1% corporate agenda. The decision on West Virginia vs. EPA sets up precedent for the Court to strip away federal agencies’ ability to enforce any federal laws and regulations and instead leave governing to the Court and their wealthy fossil fuel backers. This clear disregard for dignity, health, and protection demonstrates that the Court’s decisions are not motivated by the desire to “save lives”. Rather, the Dobbs and West Virginia decisions are about control of people’s bodies, and both work together to establish even more dangerous legal precedents moving forward. 

We are in the midst of a Global Climate and Extinction crisis, and we hear more and more stories of catastrophic flooding, wildfires, and excessive heat waves every day across the nation and the globe. We know that poor and working class Black, Indigenous, People of Color and white communities will be hit first, worst and hardest from the climate crisis. Locally, this looks like hotter days throughout the year, more major rain and flooding events, and the ongoing public health crises related to our exposure to hazardous waste and toxic pollution. Western New York has some of the highest concentration of hazardous waste and point source pollution sites in New York, including many that are regulated by the EPA. Any cuts to the EPA’s ability to regulate pollution will be devastating to the health and future of our people. 

As we continue to fight for health and justice in Western New York, we know that this decision will have an immediate and deadly impact on the lives of our members and those living in environmental justice communities around the country. We will continue to fight for federal action, but we also need our local and state officials and agencies to step up to protect all New Yorkers. 

Today, Governor Hochul released a statement where she proclaimed that New York “will strengthen our nation-leading efforts to address the climate crisis, redouble efforts with sister states, build new clean energy projects in every corner of the state, and crack down on pollution harming the health of many New Yorkers”. Words are nice, but we need her to put OUR money where her mouth is and take immediate action. 

 

Take action to protect public health and the environment! 

 

  • Make a sustaining donation to Clean Air so that we can continue to do our fight for health and justice in WNY and beyond. 
  • Submit a public comment TODAY on the NYS CLCPA Draft Scoping Plan and push for full and robust implementation before the deadline tomorrow – CLICK HERE to use NY Renews’ easy toolkit by 5pm tomorrow, Friday July 1!
  • CLICK HERE to tell Governor Hochul to Stop the Crypto Industry from Frying the Planet and sign our bill into law!
  • Tell Speaker Heastie to prioritize bringing the Build Public Renewables Act to a vote in 2023 so that we the people can be in charge of our energy future, and participate in the public hearing in July – https://publicpowerny.org/ 
  • CLICK HERE to tell Governor Hochul and your NYS Assembly member and Senator to fully fund and implement the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act in the 2023 session, increase support for regulatory and environmental justice actions at NYS DEC, and to prioritize our health and environment over private industry profits! 

 

With bread and roses,

 

Bridge, Chris and Emily



Our Statement on the SCOTUS Decision Overturning Roe vs Wade

In an appalling Supreme Court decision, the highest court in the land has effectively overturned the fundamental right to bodily autonomy guaranteed by Roe vs. Wade. 

Many reading this statement may wonder why an environmental justice group like Clean Air cares about abortion rights and reproductive justice? What does this have to do with environmental justice and clean air? Our answer: everything

Environmental justice is reproductive justice, and reproductive justice is environmental justice. In the same breath as the Dobbs v. Jackson decision, the Supreme Court also is also considering a case which could stop federal agencies such as the EPA from enforcing fundamental environmental laws like the Clean Air Act in West Virginia vs. EPA. This clear disregard for dignity, health, and protection demonstrates that these decisions are not motivated by the desire to “save lives”. Rather, the Dobbs and potential West Virginia decisions are about control of people’s bodies, and both work together to establish even more dangerous legal precedents moving forward. 

Our movements for environmental and climate justice recognize that everyone has the basic human right to clean air, clean water and safe communities protected from pollution and neglect. When our lungs are scarred from silica dust, our blood is poisoned by PCBs, and our bodies are riddled with cancer, we take comfort in our right to healthcare and our ability to make medical decisions based on our own needs and beliefs. Our right to the full spectrum of healthcare is no different. 

Beyond the violation of bodily autonomy, white supremacy and xenophobia are also intrinsic to the anti-abortion movement. When the white supremacist gunman deliberately targetted and killed 10 Black Buffalonians in their own community on May 14th, he took inspiration from the ‘replacement theory’: a conspiracy theory promoted by far-right groups that falsely asserts that Democrats are ‘replacing’ white voters with Black, Indigenous, People of Color and immigrants. In order “take back” a white, Christian nation, the theory calls on white people to increase the population’s birth rates. From this foundation, this dangerous ideology is woven into the far-right forced birth movement. As the Dobbs v. Jackson decision sets the legal precedent for further attacks on our civil rights, white supremacy further embeds itself into our national landscape. Through this, Dobbs v. Jackson again exposes our community to bodily and structural harm in concert with the potential outcome of West Virginia v. EPA.

Most importantly, this fight is far from over. The far-right is and always has been playing the long game. Ten, twenty, thirty years ago, it felt impossible to imagine Roe v. Wade being overturned, but the far-right created coalitions, elected candidates, mounted intense public opinion campaigns, and built upon small victories over time to reach this moment. All of this was backed by billionaire donors, many of whom are the same people that funded attacks against environmental regulation. This decision today is not the end of their strategy. The legal and public-opinion door is now open for the gutting of same-sex and inter-racial marriage laws, the right to contraception, and much much more. If, as Adrienne Maree Brown says, ‘all organizing is science fiction’, then today we are one step closer to the far-right and one percents’ dystopian future. 

Our staff wrote this statement today knowing that many of our members will disagree with us. Each of our full-time staff members are Catholic or grew up in the Catholic Church. Still, we believe that we must take a stand with our BIPOC sisters, brothers and siblings in both the reproductive justice and environmental justice movements. We wrote this statement to assert that our fights for justice, freedom, and health are inextricably linked and that an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us. 

With bread and roses, 

Chris, Bridge and Emily 

Ways to Take Action:

Bans off our Bodies Rally in Niagara Square in front of City Hall today at 6PM

Donate to the National Abortion Fund to help women receive full inclusive health care

Donate to Clean Air as we continue to fight at the intersection of all these issues

We will be sharing further ways to take action as they become available.





HELLO FROM CLEAN AIR SUMMER INTERN NISHAT!

Dear Clean Air Organizers, Members, and Supporters,

I’m honored to have the opportunity to meet and work alongside you all this summer; made possible by Say Yes Buffalo’s Internship Program. My name is Nishat, and I’m a first generation Bengali-American student. Though raised in New York City, I am comforted to say I have been living in Buffalo for nearly a decade now. Upon my move to Western New York, my parents especially couldn’t wait to get started on cultivating a garden unlike ever attainable in the city. POP
My family comes from a nation that’s small yet so big, being the most densely populated in the world, Bangladesh. I was no stranger to the environmental practices implemented by my mother, with fire in her eyes. In conjunction, I grew up with and around a mass of people of color. POP Primarily other South Asian, Burmese, Somali, Caribbean, and Hispanic populations. It became almost customary to exchange our home grown produce or seeds; a familiarly warm sense of community was built.
POP Without a clue; For years we had been consuming toxins built up in the soil, polluted by Buffalo’s decrepit industrial firms. Even worse it’s unfortunate to know that others out there are still unbeknownst to this. Looking back it sometimes feels bittersweet, recognizing that deep down what genuinely connects us all, is a sense of solidarity regarding the day to day struggles we face.
Like any kid, initially I didn’t understand the depth of the environmental crisis, I just saw a fun event planting trees with the City Honor’s Key Club and followed my friends to the local park on a Saturday morning. Similar to many people, I believed environmental issues could be addressed by planting trees, recycling, or maybe even being vegan. POP This exterior front image shattered; With time, I started to recognize the great injustices amongst disadvantaged communities comparingly. A couple of garden projects would not change what has been going on for years.
Working at ECMC, a first responder hospital, I was able to interact with people from all walks of life. POP It was noticeable there was a generational pattern amongst patients facing ailments. Lack of resources, education, and opportunity in low income areas makes the perfect target for corporate gain, at the cost of the wellbeing of our community. Tonawanda Coke, low income neighborhoods and the direct correlation to cancer rates. POP It’s not normal for everyone around us to be sick. There is a much deeper issue at hand.

POP POP POP; it seems as though bubbles all around me were bursting one after the other. Very few people can say they have seen me angry, and for the first time I was enraged with this feeling that would not, could not simply just go away. The systematic corruption and injustice was disheartening, in addition to my firsthand experiences dealing with racism and discrimination, my eyes were forced open, but for the better.
Awareness is the first step towards change. I couldn’t stand to remain in my own ignorance and started to get involved with the Western New York Climate Council. Introducing me to possibilities of addressing these injustices on a greater scale, reaching out to community members, petitions and campaigns for change. I wished to extend myself toward these marginalized communities and began to intern at Jewish Family Services in Refugee Settlement. Following, I still felt incredibly passionate about connecting to and educating communities on a deeper level. This yearning guided me towards Volunteers around the World. Located in San Pedro, the Guatemala chapter would provide aid and educate families on Public Health. After months of preparation unfortunately this trip was never launched due to the events of Covid-19.
It was essential to redirect my quest, anticipating where I would be able to play a role in and witness the changes I wanted to see, along with making connections with others like me. Finding out about the Clean Air Coalition was a blessing. I uncovered so many of this organization’s beliefs, campaigns and goals that align with my personal mission. I hope to continually learn and advocate for public health, environmental, and social justice. I cannot express my excitement for this summer, and look forward to the chance to meet you all. We stand together, in strength and resilience.

In Solidarity

Nishat Inqiyad

Communications and Outreach Intern

Clean Air Coalition of WNY



Hello from Clean Air Summer Intern Kiera!

Dear Clean Air Members and Supporters,

It is my pleasure to introduce myself as one of the Clean Air Coalition’s summer interns through the Say Yes Buffalo program. I would like to first thank Clean Air’s amazing team of organizers for giving me this opportunity, and I’m excited to meet more Clean Air members throughout the summer!

As someone who recently moved away from Buffalo for the first time in their life, I can proudly say that, wherever I am, Buffalo remains my home. For me, that means that I carry the lessons that the city has taught me everywhere I go, and in return, bring back what I learn elsewhere to better this community made up of friends, family, and people I have yet to meet. 

Alongside this, I’ve also had the privilege of growing up with a close connection to Lake Erie. For as long as I can remember, my springs, summers, and falls were spent on our boat on the lake, swimming and enjoying the best view of the city skyline. When I moved to Toronto to attend university, it was those memories that I reflected on the most, and try as I might, I could never recreate the serenity and joy being on the lake gives me. 

However, my family never let me forget that this great privilege that I often take for granted is constantly in jeopardy. My father would tell stories of the lake from his childhood, so polluted that he couldn’t see his feet when he waded into the water, and the glow of the steel byproducts that Bethlehem Steel would dump into the lake every night. I remember seeing the huge black pyramid of coke aside the Huntley factory as we drove down the river and instinctively fearing what would happen if that coke ended up in our water.

 At the same time, my mother taught me that Buffalo should be a city for everyone. Unlike my father, she grew up in Rochester as a first-generation Filipino-American. My maternal grandparents immigrated to the U.S. in search of a better life for their children, and with much struggle, were able to find a home for themselves in Rochester, New York. Like her parents, my mother also found herself moving away from her home as an adult, and like them, came to appreciate the wonders of a new city. However, with the resurgence of white supremacy, anti-Asian racism, and xenophobia across the nation, I know that the warm welcome experienced by my mother is being denied to other members of our community. With that in mind, I want to ensure that Buffalo lives up to its reputation as the City of Good Neighbors, and protect the safety of all those who call Buffalo home, including refugees, immigrants, communities of color, and working-class communities.

These experiences, alongside my previous climate justice work, brought me to the Clean Air Coalition this summer. I am deeply honored to participate in the crucial environmental and public health work that Clean Air does, and I hope that my personal and academic knowledge can contribute to its successes. 

In Solidarity,

Kiera Quinlivan

Communications and Outreach Intern

Clean Air Coalition of WNY



Movement Resilience Program 2022!

This summer Clean Air will be partnering with Cynthia Pegado from Cynthesis Studios to provide our membership with a first of its kind art, movement and community organizing program! During the course of 12 weeks, we will read adrienne maree brown’s Emergent Strategy and explore art, physical movement and the ways in which we can imagine more in our campaigns for environmental justice and a just transition.

Informational session on June 29th, 5pm on Zoom. Register here: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIoceCgpj0iH9fVSHhJrkzXB9lvOjrnUMjY

The program will be held outdoors at Riverside Park (on Hotaling Street)  starting July 5th, 2022 from 4-5:30pm. The program will run every Tuesday from July 5th-September EXCEPT FOR July 19th and  August 2nd. It would be ideal for participants to attend each week, but we will not turn anyone away.

Clean Air’s Movement Resilience program is a 12-week dance and leadership development program for the members and supporters of Clean Air and other members of our community. Braiding together physical movement, dance, art, organizing strategy skills and political education, this will be a first of its kind program intended to expand the skills and resilience of our membership across campaign teams.



A big step forward for Peabody Street

Judge Carney Rules in Favor of Residents Demands at Former Concrete Crushing Facility

Battaglia Demolition back in City Housing Court to determine if derelict building can be demolished in Seneca-Babcock


Today, June 9th, 2022, the Honorable Judge Carney in Buffalo City Housing court ruled in favor of the City of Buffalo and residents. The Judge ordered Battaglia to immediately exterminate the property’s rat infestation, as well as giving the City the legal authority to pursue a cleanup and demolition order and permits for the Seneca Street property. Judge Carney’s ruling today gives a significant amount of power to the City of Buffalo and the residents to pursue the legal, environmental, public health and community participation future of the site. Battaglia will be back in Housing Court on August 3rd.

Residents living on Peabody Street in Buffalo’s Seneca Babcock neighborhood have organized for more than a decade to hold Battaglia Demolition, a waste transfer site that was illegally operating a concrete crusher, accountable. Battaglia’s operations shook the foundations of residents’ homes, polluted the air with diesel particulates, and blanketed the neighborhood in silica dust, a pollutant known to cause respiratory illnesses such as asthma, lung disease and lung cancer.

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.  The building Battaglia Demolition once occupied mysteriously caught fire after a 2021 settlement was reached, and now sits vacant, leaving residents with an eyesore and a dangerous burnt out building in their backyards.

Battaglia reached a settlement agreement with the NYS Attorney General and NYS Department of Environmental Conservation in 2021 under NYS Supreme Court Justice, the Honorable Judge Chimes. While residents remain frustrated at the lack of action to implement the settlement, and outraged at the miscarriage of justice in its proceedings, action by the City of Buffalo to hold an emergency demolition at the site would bring temporary relief.

“Me and my neighbors still don’t understand how Battaglia was only fined $50,000 when he was facing up to $14 million in fines and fees to the State. We feel like we got  slapped in the face, but Battaglia got off with a slap on the wrist and lunch with the Judge”, Diane Lemanski, Clean Air member and Peabody Street resident.

In April of 2022, Buffalo City Councilmembers Bollman and Nowakowski issued a letter to Hon. Judge Chimes, urging her office to take action at the 1037 Seneca Street property. The letter echoed what community members have been saying for years; that the owner has shown time and time again that he does not care about the residents who live in the area and needs a strong arm to push any action at the site.

“The time is now for action at Battaglia Demolition. We call on the NYSDEC and the City to have on site air monitoring during any demolition or further work on the site to ensure that residents are not exposed to asbestos, silica dust or other toxic substances when the building is taken down once and for all”, Emily Terrana, Director of Organizing, Clean Air.

 



Recent updates round-up!

We have a lot of recent updates and actions for our members, as well as lots of events in June, so we’re posting a quick round-up in this post –

  • We want to encourage all our members to donate and support our friends at Black Love Resists in the Rust by clicking here

 

  • We’re also inviting our members who identify as white to join us at Showing Up for Racial Justice Buffalo’s meeting this Thursday the 26th at 6pm to organize to take actions to address racism within our communities on Zoom by signing up by clicking here 

 

  • We’re holding a healing, processing and action space for our membership in response to the 5/14 attack on Zoom on Wednesday June 1 – contact Emily at emily@cacwny.org for more info, or sign up by clicking here.

 

  • We will be marching in the Buffalo Pride Parade and will be meeting at Buffalo State College at 8am on Sunday June 5th to set up, with step off at 9 – contact Bridge at bridge@cacwny.org for more information.

 

 

 

  • We are hosting a “Stop the Bleed” training for Clean Air members on Monday June 20 at 6pm at the Isaias Gonzalez-Soto Branch Library at 280 Porter Ave. in Buffalo – training is free and provided by the Erie County Department of Health. It will start promptly at 6pm, so please be on time.