Tonawanda Coke Feels The Pressure

Activists and Local Leaders Call For Closing

Matt Moran
September 05, 2018 - 5:00 am

Tonawanda Coke (WKBW Photo)


As Tonawanda Coke battles in Federal Court for emitting dangerous toxins into the air. Many already know what they want to happen. Jackie James-Creedon has been a community activist for the last 15 years. 

"We as a community do not trust them," James-Creedon said. "We want them to shut down their doors.

County Executive Mark Poloncarz says he does not have the power to shut down the plant but wants to see the courts take action against a company that has been in the area for over 100 years. 

"You hate to see anyone lose their jobs," Poloncarz said. "But I feel confident we could find jobs for the people that work their today that is safer for them and the community."

Creedon says with finally having the government on their side she believes this will make the community more clean and at peace. 

"Are we going to be breathing in noxious benzene laced air again," James-Creedon said. "We don't want it and we shouldn't have to. We shouldn't have to live in this fear."

RELATED: Tonawanda Coke in Court

The company says they are making progress but more questions of safety have come up after the fire that occured at the plant Monday.

RELATED: Fire at Plant Sparks Confusion

Rebecca Newberry, Executive Director of the Clean Air Coaltion, says she wants the plant shut down. 

"We've had a system that has prioritized the profits of Tonawanda Coke over the regular day-to-day lives of people," Newberry said.

Grand Island Supervisor Nate Mcmurray says hes been battling for cleaner air since he took office, he says the company has gotten plenty of chances and has done nothing to fix the issues. 

"It's time for us take away their liscense to operate," McMurray said. "They have violated the public trust and don't think we have to protect the business. I am all about supporting businesses but they should not be allowed to make money off the backs of the communtiy."

As Tonawanda Coke goes through upcoming hearings Senator Chris Jacobs is not saying the company needs to shut down all together, but says cease halt operations until the issues are fully addressed. 

"It's like a bridge that is deficient, you don't drive over the bridge while you to try to figure out what the problem is," Jacobs said. "You shut the bridge down until the problem is fixed. They are not doing that and until they do it they will not have the public's trust."

The company is due in court again on Monday September 10th.




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