By Kory Schuler
Niagara Gazette — Covanta Niagara has been a good neighbor, employer and economic engine in Niagara Falls for more than 25 years. Despite the fact that the company is proposing to make a $30 million investment in its waste-to-energy facility, people continue to make gross distortions about the project.
The fact is the facility has always operated safely and significantly below its permitted threshold for air emissions and this will continue with the substantial infrastructure investments being planned for the facility. In addition, the company will not be burning more waste nor does its request have anything to do with burning more waste. Instead, Covanta only wants to change how waste is delivered to the facility by moving from trucks to rail delivery. The amount of waste processed at the facility will not increase, but will remain at its current level as per its operating permit.
It also should be noted that Covanta provides a critically important energy source for surrounding industry in the form of steam. All of the companies in this industrial corridor rely on each other for various supplies and services and if one is negatively impacted, it affects everyone. Covanta is the green energy anchor in the corridor that makes it all work. The steam energy Covanta supplies to neighboring businesses and members supports more than 600 industrial jobs in Niagara Falls.
Facility upgrades at Covanta consisting of a new steam line and a new natural gas steam boiler will provide steam for the new Greenpac paper mill project, as well as enhance steam generating capacity for existing businesses. A new rail spur to be built on remediated land will significantly reduce the number of trucks accessing local roadways and, in turn, serve to reduce the pollution from associated diesel emissions. Contrary to recent assertions, rather than negatively impacting the Niagara Falls region, Covanta’s rail and land clean-up projects will provide meaningful benefits to the environment while creating new, well-paying jobs in the area.
Covanta Niagara is committed to continuing to be a good employer and a good neighbor, supporting many community groups and organizations. This was evidenced recently when the company voluntarily stepped forward and hired a professional extermination company to eradicate a rodent infestation issue in the local neighborhood, despite the fact that the infestation had nothing to do with Covanta’s operations.
The Covanta project is good for the economy and the environment and is exactly what Niagara Falls needs.
Kory Schuler is Niagara USA Chamber of Commerce’s director of Government AffairsKory Schuler is Niagara USA Chamber of Commerce's director of Government Affairs