Environment

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

The State Heath Department has issued a long-awaited study on cancer rates in Tonawanda and areas of Erie County. 

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

One of the world's most notorious toxic dump sites is making headlines once again following a sewer incident. Today, The Buffalo News continues its two-part series on the site. 

WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley

A group of residents is demanding new soil testing in a neighborhood that is surrounded by industrial sites off River Road in Tonawanda, including Tonawanda Coke.

WBFO News file photo

More than 600 ''Elected Officials to Protect New York" are calling on Governor Cuomo to extend the moratorium on fracking.  

UB closes controversial shale institute

Nov 19, 2012

The University at Buffalo has announced that it is shutting down its Shale Resources and Society Institute, effective immediately.  UB President Satish Tripathi announced the decision Monday afternoon, following an internal assessment. 

DEC falls behind on Peace Bridge air monitoring

Nov 16, 2012
WBFO News file photo

The state DEC has conducted only two enforcement sweeps at the "no idling zones" at the Peace Bridge in Buffalo.  

WBFO News file photo

The City of Buffalo's recycling rate is well below the national average, according to Investigative Post.  Reporter Dan Telvock, who conducted the research, tells WBFO's Eileen Buckley City Hall has failed to educate the public and enforce recycling laws.

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A very light earthquake was felt by some residents living in Niagara County during the midnight hour Friday.

The Niagara County Sheriff's Office says it received several calls during from people reporting a loud boom or feeling a shake. 

The U.S. Geological Survey reports that a 2.5 magnitude earthquake was recorded in Lake Ontario at 12:25 a.m., about four miles northeast of Olcott.  

WBFO News file photo

New state air monitoring shows air coming from the Niagara River and Lake Erie is pretty clean, until it goes across the Peace Bridge and its plaza.

The Department of Environmental Conservation is doing elaborate air monitoring at the bridge, checking the air before it gets there and then after it leaves the bridge.
Most of the information is posted continually on the department web site.

Pulmonary and asthma researcher Doctor Jamson Lwebuga-Mukasa says this shows how much pollution is coming from the bridge and being breathed by those living downwind.

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Opponents of the Tonawanda Coke plant were outside of Department of Environmental Conservation offices in downtown Buffalo Tuesday pushing the department to act on pollution permits for the facility.

The plant is the subject of ongoing enforcement actions and a federal criminal case against the former environmental manager. The DEC says the existing permit will continue until that is concluded.

The Environmental Protection Agency says a fire in a glass and plastic recycling operation in Attica is out, after weeks of effort.

An estimated 49,000 cubic yards of glass and plastic had accumulated at the Hillcrest Industries recycling plant and started burning, emitting a foul stench across the village. State and federal officials moved in to move the burning material around and extinguish it.

Public Affairs Officer Elias Rodriguez says the next step is to make sure the fire doesn't re-start.

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Some West Side residents living near the Peace Bridge are accusing a number of lawmakers and the Governor of working with the Peace Bridge Authority to expand the plaza for a new Duty Free shop. 

Several spoke out Tuesday at a Buffalo Common Council Community Development committee meeting.  They said the leaders are ignoring major air quality issues.  

Elizabeth Martina, who lives directly across from the Peace Bridge, spoke on behalf of long-time resident Kathy Mecca who was unable to attend. 

If you have a closet cluttered with all of that electronic gear you no longer use, you have a chance to legally dispose of them Saturday.

An e-waste recycling event runs from  9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Saint Amelia's School on Eggert Road in the Town of Tonawanda.

The number of these events has proliferated since Albany passed a law barring garbage collection firms from picking up most electronic gadgetry. Before that, the devices were routinely put out at the curb and hauled away to the landfill.

File Photo / WBFO/AM 970 News

Residents in Attica should soon experience relief from a putrid odor that has fouled the air.

EPA officials have identified a number of organic materials, including elevated levels of benzene, near Hillcrest Industries as the source of the odor.

WBFO News photo by Brian Meyer

With leaves already on the ground from trees stressed by this season's drought, is there anything that can be done to help them for next year?

In City Hall, Andrew Rabb is the deputy commissioner of public works in charge of parks. He's also in charge of trees across the city, whether in the parks or trees between the curb and the sidewalk.

Rabb says even now, as the summer heat fades away, those trees may need help.

Photo from Hillcrest Website

The EPA is now expected to take the lead in clean up of a massive mound of garbage created by a business in Attica that has residents up in arms.
 
Western New York Congressman Kathy Hochul issued a news release Thursday announcing that she had a call with the  Regional EPA Administrator and the "EPA will now assume the lead role in the troubling situation at an Attica business, which has left the community exposed to intolerable odors and emissions."

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

A state lawmaker says Tops Markets' plan to build a gas station at its store at Grant and Amherst Street is a bad idea. 

Assemblyman Sean Ryan says a gas station could pose a serious threat to the nearby Scajaquada Creek, which runs into Lake Erie.  Ryan is demanding a full review and environmental impact study.

WBFO News file photo

The fight over expansion of the Peace Bridge is turning into a battle over asthma problems on the West Side.

There are an array of state agencies saying if there is a problem it isn't related to the bridge and its traffic. But a retired pulmonologist with years of research and treatment says it is.

How bad the air is around the bridge and on the West Side generally isn't clear. That may be made clearer in air monitoring which has started near the span, although the first complete report isn't due for six-months.

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

A new 'no idling' policy at the Peace Bridge plaza has been announced in an effort to improve air quality. 

The Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority board of directors announced authorization of the zones for both the U.S. and Canada plaza areas and the Duty Free parking lots.

PBA chairman Sam Hoyt says it will affect motorists who are required to stop for a secondary inspection or paperwork at the customs plaza.

WBFO File Photo

Governor Andrew Cuomo says there is no timetable for making a final decision that would allow hydro-fracturing in New York. 

Cuomo has been keeping activists from both sides of the fracking issue in suspense.  Environmentalists are seeking a ban on the controversial procedure.  Drillers want to go ahead with fracking -- a process that uses large amounts of water, sand and chemicals to extract natural gas from shale. 

The Governor addressed the issue with reporters Wednesday during a break in a policy conference he was attending in New York City.

The Clean Air Coalition of Western New York has been selected by the United Nations to lead a seminar in Geneva on how to use an environmental data base. 

WBFO & AM-970's Eileen Buckley talked to the local director of the Clean Air Coalition Erin about her trip to Genva on August 26th, 2012.

The contentious issue of hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking, in New York State continues to divide residents. 

A recent Siena College poll shows likely voters are evenly divided on whether they want fracking allowed in the state: 39 percent support it, 38 percent are opposed, while 23 percent either have no opinion or don't have enough information. 

"You also have to look at this from a regional perspective," said Siena pollster Steve Greenberg.

Amherst officials responded to public outcry when they announced Monday night that the controversial trapping of beavers will come to a stop.

Animal Allies of Western New York had voiced opposition to word that beavers in Ellicott Creek near the Amherst Bike Path were trapped because they are damaging trees.  The traps are not designed to kill, but the beavers end up drowning because the traps are set up outside their dens.

The group protested at Monday's Amherst Town Board meeting prior to officials announcing they would end the controversial practice. 

Daniel Robison / WBFO

In the late 1960’s, the Buffalo River was so polluted it caught fire.

“But it didn’t really get much national attention because that was just the way things were back in the day,” says Jill Jedlicka, executive director of Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, an environmental advocacy group.

“People expected polluted rivers. It was just the cost of doing business at the time.”

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Buffalo's first porous green street was unveiled Monday. 

Mayor Byron Brown used a fire hose to demonstrate how the new porous pavement reduces the amount of water run-off going into the city's storm sewers.  It is part of a pilot project in the city.

Water flowed from a hose hooked to a fire hydrant on Claredon Place off Forest Avenue, but the pavement was soaking it up instead of quickly flowing into a nearby sewer grate. 

"You can see from that test it's a great success. It is working perfectly, like it was designed to work," said Mayor Brown.

WBFO News file photo

With the moratorium on natural gas hydrofracking in New York State due to be ended soon, some prominent voices in opposition are surfacing.

Erie County Legislature Chair woman Betty Jean Grant held a public forum Thursday night in the Merriweather Library in Buffalo on the controversial method of fracturing underground rock to produce gas.

Grant told the crowd there is evidence of water pollution and earthquakes as sand and chemicals are forced into gas-bearing rock to fracture it.

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Erie and Niagara Counties continue to suffer from a moderate drought.  There is a good chance your lawn is brown and flowers are struggling.  WBFO & AM-970's Eileen Buckley met up with two local north Buffalo gardeners at the Parkside Community Association who offer advise as the dry conditions are expected through the rest of the summer.

"I love putting on the sprinkler and sitting and sprinkling my lawn.  But I quit doing that because it is wasting water," said Ruth Lampe,  an avid gardener. 

Along with an announced effort to crack down on trucks left idling at the Peace Bridge, the State Department of Environmental Conservation has also agreed to conduct air monitoring on Buffalo's West Side near the bridge's inspection plaza.

Air monitoring will begin within the next 45 days and will be conducted over a two-month period.  The latest data was collected in the late 1990s.

WBFO News by Mike Desmond

Truckers at the U.S. side of the Peace Bridge in Buffalo are now going to have to shut down their idling trucks after five minutes.  If they don't, there might be a police officer handing out a ticket.  

After years of complaints about noise and pollution from idling trucks, the Peace Bridge Authority called in the cops.  Environmental conservation police have done one crackdown at the bridge and say there will be more.

WBFO

The Niagara Frontier Transit Authority has announced that it has added 14 state-of-the-art hybrid electric buses to its Metro Bus fleet, as of today.

Fourteen of the fleet's oldest diesel-fueled buses will be retired from revenue service.

The new, U.S.-built buses were acquired for nearly $8.7 million.  $7.2 millions came from the Federal Transit Administration, with the remaining balance split by the NFTA and the state Department of Transporatation.

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