Tonawanda Coke

Chris Caya/WBFO News

Local residents who spent more than a dozen years battling Tonawanda Coke are now having to fight the University at Buffalo. As WBFO's Chris Caya reports - residents say the University at Buffalo is keeping the community "in the dark" about how it's spending millions of dollars in fines awarded to UB. 

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A federal bankruptcy court judge in Buffalo has approved the sale of the former Tonawanda Coke property.

Blackbird Asset Services

The now-closed Tonawanda Coke plant goes up for public auction Monday morning. Auction of the 135-acre site at 3875 River Rd. in the Town of Tonawanda, including some 850 feet of waterfront shoreline, was ordered by U.S. Bankruptcy Court and begins at 10 a.m.

Citizen Science Community Resources

Now that Tonawanda Coke has been shut down, local residents want to know about the possible toxins left behind.

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

Getting Washington to come in and clean up the former Tonawanda Coke is the way to go, according to opinions expressed at a meeting Thursday night sponsored by the Clean Air Coalition.

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Erie County Legislators voted Thursday to ask the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to seek Washington's much deeper pockets and ask the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to declare Tonawanda Coke a federal Superfund site and help pay for its cleanup.

Mike Desmond/WBFO

Tonawanda Coke may be closed and bankrupt, but their legacy remains. Scientists are trying to figure out what that legacy is.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation released the findings of an air quality study Monday, suggesting that benzene levels in the air dropped sharply in neighborhoods near the Tonawanda Coke site after the plant closed in October.

New York State DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos says cleaning up Tonawanda Coke could take years. Seggos toured the River Road site this week to get a first hand look at the contamination left behind.

WBFO file photo

The Environmental Protection Agency is now overseeing an on-site assessment and cleanup process at the shuttered Tonawanda Coke site. Both EPA officials and a local environmental advocacy group say this will be a lengthy process, as crews on site undertake numerous tasks to tackle numerous hazards.


Chris Caya WBFO News

Even though many companies are scambling to find employees - a job fair was held in Tonawanda, Thursday, for recently laid off workers.

The coke ovens are empty, the gas lines purged, and shutdown operations at the Tonawanda Coke plant are now complete.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

The New York State Department of Labor is rolling out its Rapid Response team to assist the estimated 100 people who lost jobs upon the shutdown of Tonawanda Coke. Labor officials say the prospects for finding a new job in short time are actually quite good.


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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it is supporting the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's oversight of Tonawanda Coke's shutdown. To date, air monitoring indicates levels set to protect the public have not been exceeded.

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The New York State Department of Environmenal Conservation announced late Tuesday afternoon that coke production at Tonawanda Coke Corporation was completely shut down.

Tonawanda Coke files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Oct 16, 2018
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Tonawanda Coke, which has already begun the process of shutting down its operations, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

WBFO file photo

The shutdown of Tonawanda Coke is already underway, ahead of the originally anticipated start date of Tuesday. As the ovens are purged and coke is removed from the site, questions are already being raised about what might become of the property in the future. The Town of Tonawanda Supervisor offered an idea for a possible future use - a new stadium for the Buffalo Bills.


Mike Desmond / WBFO News

The coke oven batteries are being slowly cooled, as all facilities at Tonawanda Coke are being shut down.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Tonawanda Coke Corporation, which was found guilty several years ago of violating the federal Clean Air Act and was appealing state effort to revoke its air permits, has submitted a plan to close its operations according to court papers made public Friday.

Avery Schneider / WBFO News

A public hearing at the State Department of Environmental Conservation office in Buffalo to discuss revocation of Tonawanda Coke’s operating permits ended abruptly Wednesday morning. Within five minutes, lawyers from both sides and a DEC judge agreed to adjourn and pick up again on Friday.

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While stating during his sentencing that Tonawanda Coke has continued to operate with a culture putting profits over public conscience, U.S. District Judge William Skretny did not order the shutdown of the company, saying government attorneys failed to prove that increased opacity in stack discharges elevated the level of harmful contaminants in the air.

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Federal judge William Skretny has set a Friday morning sentencing Tonawanda Coke after ruling the company violated a four-year-old probation agreement.

Tonawanda Coke states case in federal court to stay open

Sep 14, 2018
Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Attorneys from the US Government and Tonawanda Coke Corporation were in federal court Friday, questioning witnesses as the latter argues to stay open, despite numerous recent environmental citations.


WBFO file photo

Tonawanda Coke's request for a delay in the company's probation violation hearing was rejected in federal court in Buffalo on Monday.

Chris Caya/WBFO News

Tonawanda Coke was back in federal court in Buffalo Tuesday for allegedly violating its consent decree with the Department of Justice which requires the company to comply with emission standards.


Activists, leaders urge state to shut down Tonawanda Coke

Aug 27, 2018
Michael Mroziak / WBFO News

Concerned citizens joined the leaders of Grand Island and the City of Tonawanda Monday outside the entrance of Tonawanda Coke, urging members of the public to put pressure on state envionmental officials to halt operations at the River Road facility.

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The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has received a request from Tonawanda Coke for a hearing on the revocation of its license to operate.

WBFO News file photo

Here's what we know: The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation wants Tonawanda Coke to shut down because of persistent air pollution problems. What we don't know is if the plant will shut down Aug. 4 or if an appeal will keep it open.

WBFO News file photo

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation says it is revoking permits from Tonawanda Coke because the company has repeatedly violated air pollution regulations.

The state sent the company a cease and desist letter Friday telling it to stop any operations that release materials into the air, and ordering that permits to do so be revoked next month.

WBFO file photo

If you live in Grand Island, the City of Tonawanda or Town of Tonawanda, there's a chance you'll get a piece of mail from the University at Buffalo, asking you to participate in a survey. A long-awaited research project to measure how much Tonawanda Coke may have impacted public health through its emissions is geting underway.


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