Niagara Gazette — A state facility siting board that will determine whether a Niagara County hazardous waste storage facility will be allowed to expand has set out on the course toward making that determination.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's facility siting board held its first meeting Wednesday afternoon to handle some procedural business and familiarize the recently appointed board members with the basics of the process.
Paul D'Amato, director of the DEC's Region 9 office based in Avon, was appointed as the chair of the eight-person board which is charged with determining whether to grant Chemical Waste Management's application to open a second hazardous waste landfill near its existing landfill in the Town of Porter.
The board held its organizational meeting Wednesday in the Youngstown Free Library. During the session, D'Amato stressed that siting board members will hear from both proponents and opponents of the expansion and will be receiving a great deal of information in the coming months.
"We're at the beginning stages of this review process and there's a lot more to come," D'Amato said.
CWM's operation has been at the center of controversy in Niagara County for years, with some citizens and civic groups arguing against the proposed expansion for more than a decade.
D'Amato said he was aware of some of the issues surrounding the site and CWM's application for expansion before being appointed as the chair of the board, but said he does not have a history with any of the parties involved.
"The reason that I can serve in this capacity is that I have not dealt with CWM historically," D'Amato said. "That's why they went to Region 8 to my office rather than deal with any of the people that work with Region 9."