Niagara Gazette

Local News

April 29, 2014

Wheatfield officials ready to ban use of equate

Niagara Gazette — WHEATFIELD — Residents got what they were looking for when a public hearing to establish a moratorium to delay the use of equate on town farms resulted in the planning of a public hearing to completely ban the use of the product. 

Residents from Wheatfield and surrounding communities lined up to share their concerns. Several hundred petitions were turned over to the board while concerned citizens called on their officials to skip the moratorium and immediately ban the substance in the interest of protecting citizens. 

"One, we'll be asking for a reassessment of our home," said resident Gina Roe, outlining her plan of action before the board came to their decision. "And we'll be moving. We'll probably move to Erie County." 

Some time after Roe made the comment, Nate Carr, a representative of Quasar discussed Quasar's attempt to level with Wheatfield residents, noting that they had taken the proposed five million gallon tank off the table and were investigating other options.  

Town Attorney Robert O'Toole believed that a moratorium would allow a reasonable amount of time to research the issues and amend town law in the most appropriate fashion.

"To immediately adopt a law to outlaw equate is the wrong thing to do," said O'Toole. "A moratorium does that in the short run. It gives the towns time to put together a well thought out law. One that is supported by research, science and our environmental consultants."

Residents responded negatively to this, reminding the board of the Love Canal catastrophe. They compared the two situations, asking what the immediate and long-term impact would be on the health of residents of Wheatfield and nearby communities. They also noted what happened to Love Canal area property values. 

Renee Gibson of North Tonawanda says she has suffered with severe heart problems and even cancer, which she was born with, as a result of the contamination from a landfill near her property. She urged the board to "think of the children." 

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