Published on July 8th, 2013 | by growwny


WNYEA Waste & Pollution Working Group Meeting Recap


On June 25, 2013, the Waste & Pollution Working Group held a meeting. The key focuses of this meeting were:

  • Advocacy and the WNYEA
  • Meeting with elected officials to discuss the group’s 2013 Action Item
  • Improving Buffalo’s recycling law
  • Discussing the Covanta Energy Plant

Bob Knoer began the meeting discussion with an explanation of how the WNYEA addresses advocacy, specifically with respect to individual organizations. He emphasized that the WNYEA wants to ensure they do not go through with actions that do not reflect the beliefs of different members. However, they will not be controlled by a minority that disagrees with a motion that otherwise has strong support. With that being said, beliefs of individual organizations and members will not be suppressed as long as they are not being presented as a position of WNYEA without approval by the board. Mr. Knoer wrapped up by insisting that advocacy is vital to the operation of the WNYEA and its member organizations and that it needs to be put to better use through tools such as the rapid response team.

Next, there was a discussion of the various elected officials who have been and who should be contacted. Assemblyman Sean Ryan and Congressman Brian Higgins were very interested in the Waste and Pollution Working Group’s presentations on the Mapping Waste report. Sean Ryan in particular was thrilled to see the Mapping Waste Report and requested that the working group lend a hand on waste and pollution issues.

Most recently, the group met with Congressman Tom Reed, and is going to prepare him a summary of what he can do for the waste and pollution issues. This includes:  Niagara Falls storage and movement of waste, raising the annual allocation of funds for the cleanup of the West Valley nuclear site, and transporting highly toxic liquid nuclear waste.

Aside from these officials, the working group hopes to meet with Charles Schumer, Mark Grisanti, and George Maziarz as well before the summer is over. The group also discussed the planned transportation of high level liquid nuclear waste from Canada into the United States. This issue has been looked into by the Attorney General as well and the group is considering contacting Jane Cameron for more information. Furthermore, the group proposed and accepted that their 2013 action item to educate elected officials and the public about Mapping Waste should continue as an action item for 2014.

Sam Magavern proposed (and the group approved) a new 2014 action item to improve Buffalo’s recycling law. He wants to help the City of Buffalo revise its recycling law to bring it into compliance with state law by clearly requiring recycling by single family residences and institutions. Currently, the city’s law is clear only with regard to commercial businesses and multi-family residences. Hopefully, this would significantly boost the amount of recycling in the area while reducing waste, pollution, and saving money.

Lastly, the working group discussed Covanta Energy’s (Niagara Falls) plan to import more waste to burn for energy. By allowing them to do so, the amount of pollution in the area would significantly increase. Not to mention over 50% of the waste being burned is industrial and contains high levels of toxic chemicals such as mercury. The Waste and Pollution Working Group is considering using the WNYEA rapid response team in order to quickly confront this potentially disastrous problem, but also wanted to look into the potential of this as an action item for 2014.

Do you have feedback or suggestions for this group? Tell us in the comment section below.

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