Citizen Scientists take a soil sample in Tonawanda, NYRead More
Statement from Grand Island, Town and City of Tonawanda and Citizen Science Community Resource regarding Tonawanda Coke Community Projects and Future Action
The Supervisor of the Town of Grand Island, Nathan McMurray, the Supervisor of the Town of Tonawanda, Joseph Emminger and the Mayor of the City of Tonawanda, Rick Davis along with Phil Haberstro and other members from Citizen Science Community Resources are raising public awareness regarding the management of the Tonawanda Coke community service projects and monies today.
Sixteen years ago, several citizens now calling themselves Citizen Science Community Resources with the support of a grass roots effort, started a movement that led to ground-breaking criminal actions and community service projects totally $12.2 million against Tonawanda Coke. Those projects (funds), however, have not gone back to Citizen Science Community Resources or directly to the community. To this point, nearly all of the funds have been used for University at Buffalo led studies, leaving out all other stakeholders.
Mayor Davis says, “For years, before sentencing, this was a community collaboration. Since the judge has ruled, we seem to have lost the community collaboration with this project. That needs to change ASAP.”
Supervisor McMurray says, “We can’t leave out the folks that started this. When no one else was paying attention, Citizens Science Community Resources was out there with buckets measuring air quality. They were first line of defense. We can’t leave them out. This is important. Last year Erie County ranked near the bottom among all counties according to of the Robert Woods Johnson study on health. We need more.
Phil Haberstro adds, “This is not a new news story, in fact it is about the oldest civic story in American history. We the people are requesting Judge Skretny to return control of the community service projects and fine money to the communities that fought this fight for 16 years.”
We are asking residents to write to Judge Skretny and make their voices heard regarding this injustice.
Hon. William M. Skretny
United States District Judge for the Western District of New York
c/o Andrew W. Moeller, Esq.
2 Niagara Square
Buffalo, New York 14202
The results as reported by University at Buffalo Research Foundation (UB-RF) and Dr. Gardella today mark the first time that our community has been privileged to this information. We’ve expressed a number of concerns to UB-RF and Dr. Gardella in the past regarding the project, one of which is that the soil study does not conform to the original intent ordered by Judge Skretny (the WNY US District Court Judge presiding over the 2014 sentencing of Tonawanda Coke Corp.). As we understand, the community was to be an equal partner on the project. The truth is, our voices have been stifled and pushed out of the process; a project that the community started, wrote and persisted with for 15 years!
Additionally, we started this project because folks wanted to find out if they can eat vegetables in their garden and if their children are safe to play in their backyard. The UB study does not address these concerns because no testing was performed in these high exposure areas. This needs to happen.
Furthermore, and after consultation with our technical advisor, Dr. Shaun Crawford, PhD., we have a number of concerns on the current and on going work being performed by Dr. Gardella. We are in support of Supervisor’s Emminger and McMurray and Mayor Davis’s May 7th, 2018 letter withdrawing their support for the study until which time the plans and results are reviewed and certified by an independent, and mutually agreed upon, qualified third party person or agency. It is our understanding that indeed an independent review by an engineering firm, hired by the Town of Tonawanda, found to contain certain deficiencies which give us cause for concern in the UB study. As suggested by Dr. Crawford and until we can resolve the nature of deficiencies identified, we cannot confirm acceptance of the UB soil study results.
Lastly, and most importantly regarding the current work, the community needs to see the raw data. This is our community and we have a right to this information. Without such, we, in consult with Dr. Crawford, are unable to make any logical conclusions. We wish to defer any further comments until such time.
CSCR 2019 Board of Directors
In 2019, we will be helping folks assess environmental toxins in their gardens and play areas with our newly developed soil sampling toolkit.Read More
Thank you to everyone that helped #STOPTHESTACKS at Tonawanda Coke. On Dec. 1st we celebrated and recognized a few individuals. (l-r with awards : Terri Mucha, NYSDEC, Jackie James Creedon, CSCR, and Grand Island resident, Shannon Spencer)Read More
I can't believe I am still writing about this. It's been nearly 15 years since I unexpectedly became an environmental activist wanting to figure out why so of my neighbors and I were sick. We retrofitted a Home Depot® bucket into an air sampler and ended up discovering the deadly chemical benzene. Working with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), we discovered that a significant amount of our toxic air was coming from a local factory called Tonawanda Coke.
Because of our collaboration with the DEC and running a successful community organizing campaign using citizen science, we are breathing cleaner air (92% reduction in benzene) in our communities. Thats old news, right?
The latest results and news from NYS DEC air monitors continue to show we are not in harms way (benzene-wise) due to their latest shenanigans. However, a series of violations raised red flags again last week! Now, we are still awaiting the results of the 24/7 particulate air monitor that was installed after the company was issued a cease and desist notice by the DEC. The reason? For violating their air permit (by over100 times, I might add).
Long story short, Tonawanda Coke has long overstayed their welcome and we want them gone! Whether the latest air pollution results detect an elevation in air toxins or not, we don't care. We gave them a second chance after the new management took over a few years. But since this time, our community continues to be on guard and we have a constant "on the edge of our seat" feeling whether or not there will be another upset or violation at the plant that we must endure.
Bottom line: Enough is enough and I think I can say this with confidence on behalf of all of us that have endured your mess for decades, "Get lost and good riddance!"
Jackie James Creedon
In 2018, we are developing an Education Center and want to hear from you what programs and resources should be included as we grow.
Here’s what we are and will be doing in 2018:
- Hold strategic planning event/workshop with the community to develop ideas and a vision for the Education Center
- Create a schedule of workshops/meetings and information to market the Center
- Create education media materials (brochures, flyers, video, etc.)
- Educate the community on adverse health impacts pertaining to environmental toxins.
- Create a soil toolkit and hold a workshop with the community. (Workshop was held on April 12th)
We want your input on how our Community Science Education Center can best serve you. Click here to participate in our survey.
CSCR celebrating our first year successes with our volunteers and communityRead More
This month, CSCR welcomed Dr. Shaun Crawford, CIH from Birmingham, Al to share stories and similarities between our community and his. Dr. Crawford shares his experience traveling North and the new perspective he gained after his visit.Read More
The University at Buffalo is leading the study with CSCR and SUNY Fredonia as collaborators. UB’s Chemistry Professor Dr. Joe Gardella, the Principal Investigator adds, “UB staff and students will be leading sampling teams for the largest part of the Phase 1 sampling from August through September. Over 270 samples will be collected from homes, public spaces and corporate sites from the Town and City of Tonawanda, Kenmore, Buffalo and Grand Island. This will be complemented by results from 30 initial samples we have completed. Volunteers will help with documentation of the sampling process.”
The Tonawanda Coke Soil Study leadership is hoping to gain the help of committed volunteers, who can join CSCR in the field. The volunteer opportunity requires attendance at a 90-minute training session either on Aug. 5th from 11-12:30 or Aug. 9th from 5:30-7pm at 465 Natural Science Complex at University at Buffalo. Additionally, CSCR is asking the volunteer to commit to at least one-half day four-hour time slot in August. For more information or to sign up (deadline is August 1st), contact CSCR office at 716- 873-6191, email at email@example.com, or website: csresources.org Citizen science is the practice of public participation and collaboration in scientific research to increase scientific knowledge.
A unique summer opportunity is being offered to local high school students in Citizen Science Community Resources (CSCR) 2017 "Students Become Citizen Scientists" program.
Students will gain community service hours, firsthand experience collaborating with research scientists, and the opportunity to participate in data collection.
The program begins this week and runs until the end of August. It's not too late to apply! Participants must be at least 15 and not older than 18 years of age.
Interested students are encouraged to sign up by calling CSCR office at 716-873-6191 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This year's opportunity will focus on a Soil Study in neighborhoods potentially impacted by pollution coming from Tonawanda Coke Corp. located in Tonawanda, NY. CSCR is collaborating with the University at Buffalo and SUNY Fredonia, on the project which was funded by the courts in the Tonawanda Coke Corp. v United States of America guilty verdict against the company. Students living in the Tonawanda's, Kenmore, Riverside, and Eastern Grand Island are especially encouraged to participate.
Director Jackie James Creedon explains, "This is a unique opportunity for high school students to learn about citizen science and community activism. We are introducing students to a real environmental issue in our community and engaging them in building solutions. We currently have five college students, three of them graduates from our first High School Citizen Science class (2013) to mentor the high school students."
Citizen science is the practice of public participation and collaboration in scientific research to increase scientific knowledge.
Here is the map of our pilot study. Results will be shared with the public at a community meeting. Join our mail list (email@example.com) to receive our latest updatesRead More