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.


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.

Photo provided by Roger Torey Peterson Institute, Jamestown, NY

The Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History in Jamestown has a new leader. 

The board of directors announced this week that they selected Dr. Anton Twan Leenders to serve as the 5th president and CEO of the Institute. 

Leenders is currently at the Connecticut Audubon Society.  

Leenders tells WBFO & AM-970 his current work has concentrated on the conservation of birds and their habitats in Connecticut, but he is now ready to assist to help preserve habitat in the Southern Tier region.

A Buffalo based non-profit research and education group says a recent University at Buffalo study on hydraulic fracturing is seriously flawed and biased.

Earlier this month UB released the study on the environmental impacts of Marcellus Shale drilling, claiming environmental incidents based on fracking have dropped dramatically in Pennsylvania in recent years due to better regulation.

A University at Buffalo Shale Institute study of hydrofracking will no doubt raise eyebrows, especially in those organizations that have been most outspoken against the controversial method of extracting natural gas.

The study, which its co-authors say was funded entirely by UB, looked at the environmental impacts during Marcellus Shale drilling in Pennsylvania from January 2008 to August 2011. 

Google street view photo

Construction work is inching nearer for a replacement for the faded Central Park Plaza in North Buffalo, with the draft of a plan for environmental testing of a possible brownfield development.

The site off East Amherst Street is one of the largest prospective brownfield sites the local Environmental Conservation Department region has dealt with.

The 27-acre site was part of a vast nearby stone quarry for 71 years before being converted into the plaza in 1958.

Mark Leitner/WBFO

About a dozen representatives of Citizen Action, The Sierra Club, and several other public advocacy groups gathered in front of the Mahoney  State Office Building in downtown Buffalo Monday to reiterate their strong opposition to hydrofracking in New York.

Speakers said the natural gas industry holds far too much sway over local and state politicians with their campaign contributions. They said as a result, leaders are turning a deaf ear to the concerns of health and environmental advocates who contend that fracking ruins the groundwater supply.

Sunday marks the 42nd Earth Day observance in the United States.

Much has changed since the first Earth Day in 1970.  Back then, many bodies of water in the US, including Lake Erie, were considered dead.  And air pollution was rampant. 

Judith Enck is regional administrator of the U-S Environmental Protection Agency.  On the Capitol Pressroom on WBFO and AM 970, Enck said while real progress has been made on improving the environment, challenges remain.

State Senator Mark Grisanti unveiled a package of bills today that he says will protect the environment should hydraulic fracturing of natural gas move forward in New York. 

At a news conference in downtown Buffalo Friday, Grisanti said his bills would prohibit public sewage treatment plants from accepting wastewater from hydrofracking and would set up a system so that the public could easily access information about the location of gas wells. 

 The Western New York Stormwater Coalition held its 2012 conference at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center Tuesday.

Communities in Western New York and across the state; indeed, across the country are paying more attention to stormwater runoff. 

Carol Lamb-Lafay is with the State Department of Environmental Conservation.

“It’s in its infancy.  I think the Clean Water program has been around since 1972, but stormwater really took off in 2003,” said Lamb-Lafay.

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Western New York's mild winter has thrown the region's garden and growing season a sharp curve.  It has gardeners shaking their heads and commercial growers keeping their fingers crossed.

Those of us who've been around the block know the winter of 2011-2012 is one for the record books.  Snowfall in the 40 plus inch range and temperatures warm enough to keep the Great Lakes ice free.

John Farfaglia is an extension educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County.

    State Senator Mark Grisanti is introducing legislation Saturday that would require prompt public alerts to sewage spills that enter local waterways. 

The "Sewage Pollution Right to Know Act" would be an amendment to the environmental conservation law, requiring sewage treatment plants to notify the public within twenty-four hours of a raw sewage overflow. Grisanti claims that these overflows leach dangerous bacteria, toxins, pathogens and chemicals into recreational and commercial waters and the public has a right to know about them.