Niagara Gazette

Local News

June 8, 2014

Former Lew-Port board member back to deal with CWM

Niagara Gazette — There's less than 3 miles distance between the Lewiston-Porter School District and Chemical Waste Management's Model City facility in the town of Porter.

With CWM proposing an expansion of its landfill services at its Balmer Road site, the short distance put some concern in the minds of some of the most environmentally conscious people sitting on the district's school board.

Enter Nils Olsen, a former board member who also served as dean of the University at Buffalo law school from 1998-2007. Olsen offered the district pro bono representation at the discussions about expansion. The board accepted last week.

"He approached the board a couple months ago and said he would represent us pro bono," Superintendent Christopher Roser said. "It gives us a sounding board at the table in terms of what the expansion means to us. This board has always been a little bit involved in the environmental issues here in this area, and some of the board still is. So they felt the board needed to stay involved, to stay aware of what was going to happen in terms of the (proposed) expansion."

Last month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo named Lee Simonson, John Benoit and A. Scott Walker, PhD, to the expansion proposal's siting board, responsible for reviewing CWM’s proposal and determining if a certificate of environmental safety and public necessity will be granted with conditions or denied.

Niagara County is already represented by Allegany-based environmental lawyer Gary Abraham, which the town of Lewiston is helping to fund and backing in the fight to deny the proposal. Waste Management is also represented, while Porter is legally unable to mount any opposition.

The siting board's hearings – there is expected to be two – are likely to begin next month. Lewiston-Porter will host the meetings, Roser said.

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