Niagara Gazette

Local News

December 11, 2013

After meeting, county lawmaker says Abraham will continue CWM expansion fight

Niagara Gazette — LOCKPORT — For those looking to keep Chemical Waste Management from expanding its operations in the Town of Porter, Tuesday’s Niagara County Legislature administrative committee meeting was an important step in the process.

Though the smaller group of legislators didn’t pass any sort of legislation along to the general forum, there appeared to be a lot of positive talk following a 45-minute executive session between the group and its hired legal counsel, Allegany-based Gary Abraham.

“We had a good meeting,” Legislator Clyde Burmaster said. “There are some improvements that can be made on the resolution. But we will put the money in. We’ll pursue this as soon as we can put the proper wording together. There’s been a solid relationship between us and I’m sure we will continue seamlessly.”

Abraham, a man hired by the county in 2005 to battle the CWM expansion plan, said until recently, he was off the case dating back to last March, when county attorney Claude Joerg informed him there was no money left to pay for his services. Then, in November, the Lewiston Town Board voted to send $50,000 — in two installments — to the county to fund Abraham and his team of both scientific and legal experts assisting his case.

He said Lewiston’s $50,000 for 2013, half of his agreed-upon financial requirement to spearhead the fight, would keep his team on the case through the early part of 2014, though the town board has already committed another $50,000 for next year’s expenditures.

Lewiston’s involvement in this fight has always been a mystery, even to those who’ve participated from the beginning of the legal battle to keep CWM from building a second landfill west of its current one.

Councilman Alfonso Bax said the county and the town never actually came together and talked about what was needed to take the fight to CWM, assuming it ever needed to be done.

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