Mon August 15, 2011
Residents want answers to air testing from industrial fire
By Joyce Kryszak
Buffalo, NY – Environmental advocates and residents of the neighborhood near the Niagara Lubricants plant are looking for answers from public officials about their response to the massive fire.
A public meeting will be held Monday night in Buffalo.
Tests done near the site of Niagara Lubricants on Chandler Street at the time of the fire showed benzene levels were at least ten times higher than EPA guidelines say is safe for short term exposure.
The tests were not conducted by a government agency, but rather by the not-for-profit Clean Air Coalition of Western New York. The organization and residents are still asking why. They've sent invitations for Monday night's meeting and chairs will be reserved for about a dozen federal, state, county and city officials. But it's unclear exactly who will show up or what information they'll have for concerned residents.
Grant Loomis is the spokesperson for Erie County Executive Chris Collins. Loomis said the state does not mandate the county do air testing. Loomis said they call the state Department of Environmental Conservation. But the EPA did not show up until after the fire was put out.
As for the City of Buffalo, Erin Heaney with the Clean Air Coalition said they want to know if someone from the city could have responded sooner.
Heaney said none of their calls to the City have been returned, so she's not sure if anyone from the city will be attending.
A spokesman for the city told WBFO News a representatives from various departments would be out "in force" at Monday's meeting.
That meeting is being held at the American Legion on Amherst Street in Buffalo at 6:30 p.m.