Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick announced that, at the Thursday, May 9, legislative session, his resolution in support of keeping fines paid by Tonawanda Coke Corporation local, was approved unanimously.
"The pollutants emitted from Tonawanda Coke's facility have greatly affected the health and well-being of residents in the community. The collected fines should remain in the City and Town of Tonawanda, Grand Island and the Riverside section of Buffalo," said Hardwick, who represents Grand Island in the Erie County Legislature.
At the request of Hardwick, Rebecca Newberry, program coordinator for the Clean Air Coalition of WNY, and Cheryl McNett, who has been affected by Tonawanda Coke, spoke in support of Hardwick's resolution at the legislature's Energy and Environment Committee, which met prior to Thursday's vote.
"I want to thank Rebecca and Cheryl for sharing their insight with the committee. They made quite an impression on the members," Hardwick added.
Tonawanda Coke could face up to $200 million in fines when sentenced later this year. Specifically, Hardwick is requesting that any fines collected be used directly to address community health concerns and environmental problems caused by Tonawanda Coke.
Hardwick's resolution will be forwarded to U.S. District Court Judge William M. Skretny and U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, requesting serious consideration be given to requiring that money paid stay in the Tonawandas. Rep. Brian Higgins, the Town of Tonawanda Board and City of Tonawanda Board are also on record in support of this measure.