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Feb. 21, 2020 | Friday
Editorials and Opinions
Letter: Let's stop NY company's plan to dump PCBs into Niagara River
A New York Times article. (Supplied)

Dear editor:

Residents of NOTL share the Niagara River with residents of the towns of Lewiston and Porter in New York State. I am blessed, every day, to live in a home overlooking our shared river and your beautiful town.

For 18 years, local governments, schools, farmers, environmental groups, residents and our neighboring Tuscarora Nation have worked to end the disposal of PCBs and toxic waste at the CWM Chemical Services, LLC site here.

While operating its landfill, CWM generated treated wastewater containing PCBs, mercury and other contaminants, discharging roughly 20 million gallons each year directly into the Niagara River.

Although CWM (a subsidiary of Waste Management Inc.) reached capacity and was forced to close in 2015, it has an application pending to locate a massive new landfill here, large enough to accept nearly 100 per cent of all U.S. annual process waste generated.

Restarting a toxic waste landfill operation would also restart the discharge of 20 million gallons of PCB-laden wastewater into the Niagara River each year.

This isn’t a “not-in-my-backyard” issue.

U.S. and state agencies all agree there is no need for a new PCB and hazardous waste landfill, because there remain decades of unused capacity available while demand has declined over the past 35 years.

However, these facts did not prohibit CWM from making an application to New York State for a massive new landfill in 2003, an application which is in the final stages of decision-making before the state government.

After a four-year hiatus, CWM conducted a one-time discharge of 30 million gallons of residual wastewater into the Niagara River in 2019.

However, because wastewater volumes decline sharply after a landfill closes, CWM is unlikely to discharge to the Niagara River ever again – unless its application is approved.

The parties objecting to this application have engaged experts in differing disciplines to testify in the final phase of decision-making this year.

The experts for the group, Residents For Responsible Government Inc., rely on private funds and could use your help.

First, may I encourage you heed the call from The Lake Report to donate in support of this valuable news source.

Then, may I ask you visit the website, RRG-WNY.com to consider contributing to the effort to protect our beloved Niagara River.

Thank you.

Amy Witryol

Lewiston, NY

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