Tonawanda Coke

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The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is going to allow Tonawanda Coke to burn hazardous waste. That's raising concerns among neighbors who have been dealing with the convicted polluter for years.

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Since late 2009, she has led Region 2 of the Environmental Protection Agency, which includes New York State. Judith Enck, who was appointed to her post as Administrator is in her final week on the job and is reflecting on accomplishments, both locally and at the national level.


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With the dramatic drop in pollution coming out of the Tonawanda Coke plant because of repairs and renovations, the expectation was fewer contaminants in the neighborhood. However, state air monitors are finding that is not quite true.

The first public meeting was held with residents Saturday about a University at Buffalo study that will examine soil pollution around the Tonawanda Coke plant.

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Residents of the Town of Tonawanda, City of Tonawanda and Grand Island will soon be sought to participate in a multi-year study of emissions from a local plant, and how those emissions may have affected the health of the nearby community.

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The tragic death of a Tonawanda Coke employee last January could have been prevented. That is the conclusion of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Buffalo office following an inspection.

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An industrial accident at the Tonawanda Coke facility on River Road has claimed the life of a 60-year-old man.    

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A local group is empowering people to become environmental watchdogs in their own backyards. Citizen Science Community Resources is holding a free science workshop and conference Saturday, where participants can pop in anytime from 9:30 a.m. until 5 p.m.

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Tonawanda Coke Corporation will pay $12 million in what state and federal regulators hail as a "historic" environmental settlement that targets problems at the company's River Road plant.

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The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has fined Tonawanda Coke after an explosion at the company's River Road plant, in the Town of Tonawanda, Jan. 31, 2014.

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A federal judge has fined Tonawanda Coke $12.5 million dollars for violating the Clean Air Act the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

Tonawanda Coke faces sentencing for environmental crime

Mar 19, 2014
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Tonawanda Coke and its owner will be sentenced in federal court. In the preliminary sentencing report U.S. District Judge William Skretny said victims will not be allowed to seek restitution during Wednesday’s sentencing.

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A large crowd of neighbors to the Tonawanda Coke plant were told Monday night there needs to be more testing for pollutants in the soil and water around the plant. When the company is sentenced March 19, the judge is being asked to order a $700,000 study.

Public invited to attend Tonawanda Coke update meeting

Mar 3, 2014
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The public is invited to attend a meeting regarding issues surrounding Tonawanda Coke Monday night. The event will take place at the Sheridan Parkside Community Center located at 169 Sheridan Parkside Drive in Tonawanda at 6:30 p.m.

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Rep. Brian Higgins says he is outraged after learning that three workers at Tonawanda Coke were injured in a January 31 explosion, contrary to what the company initially reported.

Tonawanda Coke reveals information on explosion

Feb 6, 2014

Officials at Tonawanda Coke are offering details of the Friday explosion which reportedly rocked much of the area surrounding the facility.

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Some Town of Tonawanda residents are waiting to learn more about what caused their homes to rattle around noon Friday.

First responders were called to the Tonawanda Coke plant shortly before noon Friday in response to calls of an "explosive" sound.  Tonawanda police says the sound was heard in a wide area of the town.

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There is another delay in the sentencing of Tonawanda Coke. Earlier this year a federal jury found Tonawanda Coke and its owner guilty of violating the Clean Air Act. But as WBFO's Eileen Buckley reports, the September 30 sentencing has been postponed.


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Tonawanda Coke faces up to $200 million in fines when the company and its environmental manager are sentenced in September and residents in the areas affected by the company's pollution want a say in where that money goes.

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A major effort is underway to get any citizen who was affected by pollution from Tonawanda Coke to issue an impact statement in court.

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In the wake of the criminal conviction of Tonawanda Coke and its top environmental official, New York State's top environmentalist was in town Thursday to tour of the area around the plant and around the Peace Bridge in Buffalo.

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After scoring a major court victory against Tonawanda Coke late last week, The Clean Air Coalition of Western New York has now launched a call for fair elections. 

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The environmental control officer at Tonawanda Coke faces up to 20-years in jail and the company up to $200 million in fines after a federal court jury returned quick verdicts Thursday in a 19-count indictment.

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Accusations of excessive toxic emissions by Tonawanda Coke were played out in federal court on Friday.

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

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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.

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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.

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The Environmental Protection Agency regional administrator appeared in the Town of Tonawanda Monday to announce a federal grant to study air pollution.  

Judith Enck announced the $100,000 federal grant.  Enck said the EPA is collaborating with the Clean Air Coalition of Western New York to study harmful air pollution in Tonawanda and review pollution causes and possible remedies.

Tonawanda Coke on River Road continues to face several lawsuits for polluting the air. 

A community activist continues to speak out against benzene and other toxic material that spews from the facility.

"Tonawanda Coke is still polluting," said Jackie James-Creedon, Kenmore resident and community activist in Kenmore-Tonawanda. She said  high benzene levels have been reduced, but she wants them reduced even more. 

"Benzene levels have been reduced.  It's better, but as far as what I'm interested in, I'm interested in reducing levels even further," said James-Creedon.

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