Niagara Gazette — Residents in the neighborhood next to a waste-to-energy facility in the Falls are trying to raise awareness of the company’s plans to begin bringing New York City garbage in by rail to be processed.
Chris Kudela, a retired Niagara Falls firefighter, lives near Covanta Energy Inc.’s Niagara plant in the city’s LaSalle neighborhood.
He has started to organize people in an effort to engage the company and seek answers regarding the effects that shipping the waste from New York City to Niagara Falls will have on his neighborhood.
“We just want to make sure that things are covered here,” he said during a phone interview this past week.
Kudela said he has been following the issue, attending public meetings and reading up on the company, but he still has questions.
Kudela organized a meeting of neighbors and other concerned citizens at the Niagara Falls Vineyard Christian Fellowship, less than a mile from Covanta’s Niagara facility, Wednesday night.
Kudela was only able to bring a handful of people together to discuss the terms of a rail spur project that was cleared by the Niagara Falls Planning Board. But he and the people who joined him plan on going door-to-door to spread information about the rail spur and other projects, he said.
He hopes to raise awareness quickly, as the comment period for Covanta’s Title V air permit renewal — the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation permit that allows companies to emit a specified amount of pollutants like mercury and dioxins into the air — ends July 5.
Most of the people in the neighborhood have no idea that the company is going to be receiving New York City waste by rail, according to Kudela.
“We’re trying to let the neighborhood know, give them an inkling as to what’s going on,” he said.