Niagara Gazette

Opinion

August 4, 2013

EDITORIAL: Situation surrounding Covanta's air permit application is troubling

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — While that may be true, it is disconcerting that the firm felt it could push forward with a non-permitted project for economic reasons.

And then there’s the DEC’s position here. The agency’s own documentation suggests it knew about Covanta’s intentions to move forward with installation back in May. If so, why didn’t DEC regulators step in at that time? 

It appears as though DEC officials, hired to protect the community’s interest, acted only after the situation at Covanta was brought to the public’s attention by three concerned residents. 

If so, that is troubling.   

Witryol, who has in the past dedicated vast amounts of time and energy to monitoring activities at the CWM hazardous waste landfill, has been asking pointed questions about the project for weeks now. Other residents, including Kudela and Hamilton, are now joining her efforts.

Her concerns, including those addressed to the Niagara County IDA, which granted an incentive package worth $8 million as part of the expansion effort, have largely been ignored by local appointed and elected officials. 

It’s not too late for them, and others, to get more involved. 

The DEC is accepting comments from the public about Covanta’s air permit application through Monday. The Niagara Falls Planning Board has set a hearing for Aug. 14 to allow for more input from the public. Participation in the process is key to protecting the community’s best interest. 

One thing has become abundantly clear: Covanta’s expansion project is far too important to ignore. 

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