UB statement on Tonawanda Coke press conference

Release Date: March 6, 2019

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Community members have played a major role in both the Tonawanda Coke Soil Study and the Environmental Health Study for Western New York since these two separate court-ordered studies began.

The following is a statement from the University at Buffalo regarding court-ordered studies related to the former Tonawanda Coke plant:

Community involvement

"Community members have played a major role in both the Tonawanda Coke Soil Study and the Environmental Health Study for Western New York since these two separate court-ordered studies began. Both studies are being carried out according to plans approved by the court, with the goal of providing people who live and work nearby with high-quality, research-based information on the impact of pollution on their neighborhoods."

"Hundreds of local residents, as well as local school districts, have participated in the Tonawanda Coke Soil Study by having soil sampled from their properties. More than 12,000 area residents have enrolled in the Environmental Health Study for Western New York to date. Each study has established a community advisory committee to help guide decision-making. In addition, team members from each study have met with community members and leaders on multiple occasions to discuss and solicit feedback about the studies."

Tonawanda Coke Soil Study

"The soil study work performed by Citizen Science Community Resources (CSCR) was covered by a contract with the Research Foundation for the State University of New York. The Research Foundation has the fiscal responsibility to ensure that only documented expenses, directly related to the project’s scope of work, are reimbursed with Tonawanda Coke settlement funds."

"CSCR has received more than $100,000 for its work on the soil study. The Research Foundation has reviewed the most recent invoices submitted by CSCR containing non-project expenses, and it has notified CSCR that these expenses cannot be paid as they are outside of the terms of the contract."

Environmental Health Study for Western New York

"The Environmental Health Study for Western New York is a court-ordered study that investigates over 10 years or more how emissions from the Tonawanda Coke plant and other sources may have affected — and may continue to affect — the health of surrounding communities. CSCR is not part of that study."

"The study will empower the local communities by helping residents of the City of Tonawanda, the Town of Tonawanda and Grand Island gain important new knowledge about their collective health. The study will give residents an increased understanding of how prevalent various diseases are in their communities, and how these diseases may be linked to pollutants found in coke oven emissions."

"The research will also shed light on how lifestyle factors like diet and exercise affect a person’s risk of developing disease following exposure to pollutants. Such information can inform decision-making, helping residents and community leaders decide how to focus public health policies, as well as community-driven initiatives aimed at improving community health through education, awareness and clinical care. In the future, insights from the study could help to prevent disease in these and other communities."

Media Contact Information

Cory Nealon
Director of News Content
Engineering, Computer Science
Tel: 716-645-4614
cmnealon@buffalo.edu
Twitter: @UBengineering