Both sides await a decision as Tonawanda Coke is found guilty

Probation violation sentencing set for Friday

Matt Moran
September 17, 2018 - 2:26 pm

WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman


Buffalo, N.Y. (WBEN) - A federal judge has found Tonawanda Coke guilty of violating its probation.

Judge William Skretny found Tonawanda Coke violated opacity regulations multiple times. This was the fourth time in two weeks the Federal Government and the corporation were in court. Attorney Jeff Stravino representing the plant says they know they exceeded opacity levels.

"We still haven't proof on the record that increased opacity is creating any kind of a harm or effect on the health of the community," Stravino said.

Local activists beg to differ. Jackie James-Creedon has been fighting against the plant for 15 years. 

"Maybe the data didn't show that but it definitely is dangerous to our community," James-Creedon said. "There is a lot of fear and anxiety for our community just seeing that smoke coming out, that in of itself is harm to our community."

Many activists and local leaders left the courtroom happy with Judge William Skretney's decision. Grand Island Supervisor Nate McMurray wants to see Tonawanda Coke shut down for good. 

"I understand they have been there for a long time but the the technology is obsolete, the conditions the workers labor under is not safe," McMurray said. "They have been violating and violating and now it is time for accountability."

Sentencing options will be sent to the Judge this week by both sides. With a decision coming Friday Morning. Joyce Hogankamp sees a sitution where the plant is kept open but so that they are not able to harm locals ever again. 

"So that the people that have been hurt can be paid," Hogankamp said. "If they are kept open it and operating under certain standards so they can pay off the debt they have to this community."

Anyone has the opportunity to send a letter to Judge Skretny on what they want the sentence to be. Activists and McMurray are alerting anyone that has been affected by the plant to do so.



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