The New York State Attorney General is suing Peter Battaglia Jr., owner and operator of Battaglia Demolition Inc. and related companies, to force the South Buffalo demolition debris facility to end noxious conditions – described as “unbearable” and “sickening” by residents. The suit charges that Battaglia’s dust, noise, odors, vermin, truck traffic and other harmful impacts have created a public nuisance under state law and that the facility is illegally operating without required state environmental permits.
The Attorney General’s suit, which was filed in the Erie County Supreme Court, seeks a court order halting operation at the facility until all public nuisances are abated, all state permits necessary for the operations conducted at the facility are obtained and the facility is brought into full compliance with the law. In addition, the state asks the court to assess financial penalties for Battaglia’s violation of multiple state environmental laws.
“For too long, dust, noise and odor from the Battaglia facility has created noxious conditions in the Seneca-Babcock community,” Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said. “These conditions have robbed residents of such basic pleasures as opening their windows, relaxing on their porches and enjoying their backyards."
"I am committed to bringing these harms to an end and holding Battaglia fully accountable for blatantly and knowingly disregarding both the law and the well-being of the community," Schneiderman continued in a statement issued on the lawsuit. "In taking this action, I stand with the Seneca-Babcock community to ensure their right to a safe, clean and healthy environment.”
The Battaglia facility, located at 1037-1055 Seneca Street, stockpiles and processes construction and demolition debris. The facility borders the Seneca Babcock neighborhood, abutting homes located on the northwest side of Peabody Street. The facility’s cement crusher, installed in late 2011, is located as close as approximately 250 feet to backyards of homes on Peabody Street.
The facility has repeatedly been cited for numerous violations of law by the state and City of Buffalo. Schneiderman said Battaglia has disregarded six notices of violation issued by the Department of Environmental Conservation – as well as January 2016 court order – directing him to comply with DEC permit requirements.
Joseph Gardella, Chair of Buffalo's Environmental Management Commission, said the lawsuit filed is an appropriate response to years of irresponsible behavior by Battaglia at his Peabody Street operation . "The Buffalo Environmental Management Commission, which I have chaired for more than 10 years, has investigated a variety of Mr. Battaglia's illegal activities at the site, most accomplished without appropriate permits, leading to air pollution emissions to the surrounding neighborhood. The Commission this important step forward to improve the living conditions for the residents of Seneca Babcock and surrounding neighborhoods.”