Niagara Gazette

Local News

August 15, 2013

Covanta hearing draws crowd to city hall

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette —

“The facility is not expanding its waste handling capability at all,” O’Neil said.

Throughout the two-hour meeting many speakers passionately stated their views on the project with most of the people speaking in favor of the project having ties to the company either through employment or a business relationship.

Most of those raising concerns over the project — their concerns were diverse and many — described themselves as residents or citizens.

Amy Hope Witryol, a Lewiston resident and retired financial sector executive who has researched environmental and public policy issues for years, has led the charge in a campaign to call into question many aspects of the company’s facility expansion. She has written letters to DEC officials, city hall staff and state agencies to express what she views as inconsistencies, misrepresentations from the company and possible illegalities surrounding the project.

Witryol reaffirmed those claims in her comments, taking nearly 20 minutes to innumerate the many ways she believes the project will have a negative impact on the region, most of which are either environmental or economic in nature.

“The planning board and DEC, from my view have both a legal and moral obligation to consider the bigger picture before sentencing LaSalle residents to another day or even another 30 years of incinerating garbage,” she said.

Witryol added the board would not be stopping the expansion or job creation by revisiting the negative declaration, but would create an opportunity for the city to get guarantees — and possibly more money — in exchange for bearing the burden of hosting the incinerator.

"No one is looking to close down Covanta or eliminate steam capacity to either local companies or National Grid," she said. "However, there are profitable alternatives to burning garbage that produce steam in ways more protective of public health and the financial interests of residents."

Dan Coraccio, vice president and regional business manager at Covanta Energy, the Niagara plant’s parent company, defended the company against accusations that it misrepresented facts in its application to the board.

“We want to reaffirm that the information that was submitted with the environmental assessment form is accurate and it is clear,” Coraccio said. “Any assertion to the contrary is simply wrong.”

 

 

 

Contact reporter Justin Sondel at 282-2311, ext. 2257

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