Niagara Gazette — Covanta Energy had few visitors at its public information meeting Tuesday night, with only a handful of residents and public officials showing up to take in information about the company's ongoing expansions and related permits.
But they did have one very interested resident and activist who kept several of the company's employees busy for portions of the three-hour session.
Amy Hope Witryol, who has fought the expansion of waste facilities in the Niagara region for years, raised a number of concerns about the company's plans for the Niagara Falls waste-to-energy plant.
"We don't deserve to be the dumping grounds for New York City and the other 24 states that ship garbage to Covanta Niagara," Witryol said in a phone interview after the session.
The informational event was a part of a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation air permit process required because the plant lies within a mile of an Environmental Justice area, which is "broadly defined as the disproportionate exposure of minority and low-income populations to poor environmental conditions" by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The company has applied for an air permit on a natural gas furnace it is building to ensure that it can supply enough steam energy to the nearby plants that will be delivered by a new pipeline that is nearing completion. The company has included the new permit in a packaged application that would also renew all existing air permits the company holds with the DEC.
The event was held at Antonio's Banquet and Conference Center on Niagara Falls Boulevard in a small banquet room lined with informational posters. Chocolate chip cookies, tea and coffee were offered to the guests that made it to the event.
Witryol said she found some of the company's promotional materials and the wording of the advertisement of the event to be misleading.