Monday, May 11, 2015

Tonawanda Coke to pay $12M in NY pollution settlement

Under a $12 million settlement with the United States and the state of New York, Tonawanda Coke Corporation will pay $2.75 million in civil penalties, spend approximately $7.9 million to reduce air pollution and enhance air and water quality, and spend an additional $1.3 million for environmental projects in the area of Tonawanda, NY. 

The agreement was announced jointly by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck, U.S. Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) Commissioner Joseph Martens and New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.

According to EPA's news release:

"Under the consent decree lodged today in federal court in the Western District of New York, Tonawanda Coke must improve its processes, operations and monitoring for coke oven gas leaks, assess key equipment, repair or replace equipment, install new pollution controls, and take many additional measures under a prescribed schedule.  This work, estimated to cost approximately $7.9 million, will secure significant reductions of benzene, ammonia and particulate matter emissions from the plant, improving air quality in Tonawanda and protecting public health. Benzene is a carcinogen.

"The settlement also requires Tonawanda Coke to pay a $1.75 million civil penalty to the United States to resolve violations of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-know Act, and pay a $1 million civil penalty to the State of New York, which is a co-plaintiff with the United States.  In addition to the state penalty, Tonawanda Coke will pay another $1 million to fund projects that will benefit the environment and the residents of Tonawanda.  

"Additionally, $357,000 will be provided to Ducks Unlimited, a not for profit organization, to acquire and preserve wetlands. In addition to protecting and enhancing water quality, wetlands reduce flooding, filter pollutants, and provide habitat for fish and wildlife."

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