Monday, January 31, 2011

Public-Private Partnership to Clean Up the Buffalo River

A unique public-private partnership is seeking to restore the Buffalo River channel to its pre-industrial quality by dredging over a million cubic yards of contaminated sediment and also clean up the river side slopes over the next three years.

The partners include the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Army Corps of Engineers, NY state Department of Environmental Conservation, Honeywell and Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper.

“It has economic and ecological benefits ..." said Jill Jedlicka, director of ecological programs for Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper. “A restored river will not only benefit the Great Lakes, it will benefit local communities that use [that] resource, as well as future planned and proposed economic redevelopment within the region.”

$6 million has already been invested in the planning and research and evaluation of the studies. The cleanup cost is estimated at more than $40 million.

The Army Corps of Engineers will conduct the first phase, removing contaminated sediment in the federal navigation channel. The project is scheduled to begin June 15 is expected to be completed by Nov. 15.

In the spring of 2012, the second phase, to be implemented with the oversight of the U.S. EPA, will get under way to clean up the side slopes of the river along a 6.2-mile stretch of the lower river and a 1.4-mile stretch of the City Ship Canal, which is designated as a federal Area of Concern.

A public meeting was held on January 25. The partners are still seeking public comment on a preferred action plan, which is available at the DEC website.

Below is a map of the Buffalo River showing the location of the proposed dredging and restoration areas.

[click image to enlarge]

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A New Niagara Falls International Railway Station

Mayor of Niagara Falls sees economic & cultural development, jobs and a future link to international high-speed rail

The City of Niagara Falls received a $16.5 million federal grant last October to construct the new-build portion of a station project (large structure on the left of rendering
) that also involves revitalizing the historic U.S. Customhouse (gray stone building at far right; click to enlarge) built in 1863.

The funds are the final part of a $44 million project to create a new train station and transportation hub. It will house an Amtrak station and customs inspection facilities
at the U.S.A.-Canada border. Renovation of the Customhouse will also include an Underground Railroad interpretive center. The building complex will be known as the Niagara Falls International Railway Station and Intermodal Transportation Center.

“The Niagara Falls Station will immediately energize our ongoing local revitalization efforts —to create a hub for transit-orientated economic development and a centerpiece for cultural tourism development,” said Paul Dyster, Mayor of Niagara Falls. “It no doubt means immediate construction jobs."

U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter said “The new intermodal station will put passengers in the heart of the Falls and provide seamless links to other modes of transportation including trolley services." Slaughter and U.S. Senators Gillibrand and Schumer were instrumental in helping to advance the project in recent years.

The Niagara Falls Railway Station will also provide an important link to a proposed high-speed rail line on the existing Empire Corridor, connecting Buffalo, Albany, New York City and points in between. In April 2009, President Obama listed Buffalo as a high-speed rail candidate, and funding was awarded
in January 2010 to begin laying a foundation in the Empire Corridor.

The U.S. High-Speed Rail Association envisions a Buffalo to Albany and NY City connection by 2025. They see a Toronto, Niagara Falls, Buffalo, Rochester connection happening even sooner, by 2020 (see Map, here).

Mayor Dyster said of the Niagara Falls project, "Perhaps most exciting of all, it gives us an opportunity to play a leading role in development of a high-speed rail system that is going to connect New York City to Toronto, one of the most exciting developments in transportation in all of North America over the next decade."

Mayor Dyster, together with with Organizing for America, will hold an educational meeting that will explain the High Speed Rail project and the benefits it will bring to Niagara Falls and all of Western New York. The public meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 15, 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM, at IBEW Union Hall, 8803 Niagara Falls Blvd, Niagara Falls, NY 14304. [MAP]

A resurgence of interest in passenger rail travel will reactivate our manufacturing sector and create much-needed jobs. Also, the hope is that our passenger rail system in the future will be powered mainly by clean, renewable energy, helping to end our dependency on oil and reduce our carbon footprint.

For additional information, see reports at, and

[UPDATE] Tuesday, February 15: City to hold meeting on local high-speed rail plans today

U.S. Customhouse built in 1863 in Niagara Falls, NY

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Growing Renewable Energy in the U.S. through CLEAN Contracts - a Perfect Fit

A Policy to Repower the Nation with Clean Energy

No policy has helped other countries expand their renewable sources of electricity more than the CLEAN contract, also known as a feed-in tariff or FIT. Transparency, certainty and longevity of the contract forms the basis for its widespread acceptance, and its success in developing wind and solar power
in other countries and a few states.

A CLEAN contract makes Clean Local Energy Accessible Now. The policy allows renewable energy project owners to sell their electricity to utilities at a predetermined, fixed price for a long period of time. Clean energy providers are paid a price for their electricity that covers the cost of the generation. It makes clean energy investment a smarter choice for homeowners, utilities, and developers of renewable energy projects.

The CLEAN contract helps overcome upfront cost barriers to investment by making renewable energy projects more easy to finance. The contract offers a standardized process for new projects, minimizing uncertainty for developers and confusion for homeowners. It reduces risk and lowers the costs of getting things built. The CLEAN contract makes it easier to run businesses, build projects, and give consumers what they want.

The Center for American Progress has written a detailed paper that examines the workings and ingredients of CLEAN contracts. The paper also looks at how lawmakers and advocates can successfully move CLEAN contracts forward given how the contracts are affected by federal regulation. Finally, it provides recommendations to ensure that policies benefit ratepayers, workers, investors, and the U.S. economy.

Learn more about CLEAN contracts at the Center for American Progress.
A brief description of CLEAN contracts is provided in a video here and also below.

Isn't it time that we get on board and promote renewable energy development on a large scale through CLEAN contracts? Implementation of CLEAN contracts across the U.S. will accelerate clean energy deployment, recharge the economy and create new jobs. A shift from burning fossil fuels to utilizing clean energy sources will curb greenhouse gas emissions, reduce toxic pollution and protect human health.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Seven of NY's Biggest Polluters are Local

Western New York is home to seven of the state's biggest polluters, according to The Buffalo News analysis of the Toxics Release Inventory of 2009 recently made available by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The Toxics Release Inventory Program compiles data on toxic chemical releases and waste management activities reported annually by certain industries and federal facilities and makes it available through online database tools.

The local companies are listed below according to their rank in New York's Top 25 Polluters:

7. CWM Chemical Services, Lewiston and Porter
8. Huntley Station, Town of Tonawanda
14. 3M Company, Town of Tonawanda
16. AES Somerset, Somerset
18. DuPont Yerkes plant, Town of Tonawanda
19. Niagara Generation, Niagara Falls
21. Cooper Power Systems, Olean

is the area's largest polluter, releasing 765,544 pounds of waste, 99% which is burried in its landfill.

A CWM spokesperson called the EPA's methodology "misleading and counterintuitive", stating that "What is in fact an activity that provides a high level of community protection is inappropriately reported as a 'release' to the environment." See the full report at

It is not surprising that CWM does not consider their land as part of the environment?
Industrial toxic waste present in the Love Canal community was always part of the environment, both when it was buried underground as well as after it leaked from the burial site and became a public health emergency.

The EPA monitors releases of toxic pollution into air, water and land, both on- and off-site, to ensure a high level of community protection, now and into the future.

Please note that The Buffalo News ranking is based on the quantity of chemical waste released, not on the toxicity of the specific chemicals. Also, the EPA data do not reflect what exposure there may be to the public from the chemicals released.

The EPA's Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) provides communities with information about chemical releases and waste management activities in order to support informed decision making at all levels by industry, government, non-governmental organizations, and the public. Online access to the TRI is provided here.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Chautauqua County GREEN EXPO

Announcing the
2nd Annual Chautauqua County

Household Electronics Recycling Event
Sustainable Taste of Fredonia

FREE and Open to the Public
  • WHEN: Saturday, March 26, 2011 -- 10 AM to 6 PM
  • WHERE: SUNY Fredonia, Steele Hall [Map]
  • WHAT: Featuring Exhibitors, Vendors, and Organizations with Green products, services, or concepts to inform local residents about Green alternatives to fundamental household and consumer needs.
Concurrently, also featuring:
  • 4th Annual Household Electronics Recycling Event from 10 am until 2 pm
  • A 'Sustainable Taste of Fredonia' Event, with local restaurants serving organic and locally grown foodstuffs.

Exhibitors and Vendors: Please REGISTER ONLINE NOW

For a Printable Flyer, Click Here.

Green Expo Website: Click Here.

Additional Information: Please contact Sherri Mason, Sustainability Coordinator, at or (716) 673-3292.

Planning Meeting for 2011 Buffalo Niagara GREEN EXPO

Message from Bill Nowak:

The next Planning Committee Meeting for the 2011 Buffalo Niagara Green Expo will be on Thursday, January 20, 2011 at 5:30-7:00 PM at Environmental Education Associates, 346 Austin Street near where Grant and Military connect [Map].

The Green Expo will be held at the Walden Galleria on April 30th and we are forging ahead.

We hope you can attend the Planning Meeting on Thursday and get involved with one of the committees.

The following are Committee Chairs for this year's event:

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Planning Meeting for 2011 Green Expo

Invitation from Bill Nowak:

We're holding the first open planning meeting for the 2011 Green Expo Thursday, January 6 from 5:30-7:00pm and would love to have your help. This session will be at Environmental Education Associates in the old red brick Police headquarters at 346 Austin Street near where Grant turns in to Military.

All welcome !!!

The Proposed Agenda is as follows:

1. Introduction - history of the 1st 2 Expos - 5 minutes

2. Location this year - proposed Walden Galleria - 5 minutes

3. Date this year - proposed - Saturday, April 30th - 5 minutes

4. Organization - Do we want to change our organizational status or structure?
We are currently informal and without legal status. Senator Thompson and Keep WNY Beautiful have provided the organizational framework - 10 minutes

5. Meeting Schedule (Proposed 1/6, 1/20, 2/3, 2/17, 3/3, 3/17, 3/31, 4/7, 4/14, 4/21, 4/28) - 5 minutes

6. Committees: Operations | Recruitment | Marketing | Budget
- Description of committees - 12 minutes - 3 minutes each.
- Break down into Committees and start organizing - 20 minutes
- Presentations from committee breakouts with feedback from the floor - 20 minutes

Buffalo ReUSE Announces Price Drop

Buffalo ReUse is proud to announce a January Price Drop at The ReSOURCE, 298 Northampton St, beginning January 4, 2011.

This sale is being held in celebration of the New Year and Buffalo ReUSE’s continued commitment to offering the public great deals on reusable building materials. There is a catch to this fabulous sale - customers must buy up before discounts go down!

Each week, the discount will change as follows:

- January 4-9 Customers will receive a 60% discount
- January 11-16 Customers will receive a 50% discount
- January 18-23 Customers will receive a 40% discount
- January 25-30 Customers will receive a 30% discount

On February 1, all items will return to their usual low prices.

The ReSOURCE is fully stocked with lighting fixtures, plumbing, tubs, sinks, tile, flooring, trim, spindles, railings, furniture, windows, doors, and more. Most items found in the ReSOURCE can be purchased at the discounted rate. Radiators, lumber, cabinet sets, hardware, and antiques can be purchased at their usual low, low prices.

The ReSOURCE is open for business Tuesday-Saturday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm and Sunday 12:00 – 4:00 pm.

Kevin Hayes, Interim Executive Director for Buffalo ReUse, invites the community to visit the ReSOURCE to browse the stock and learn more about services and activities we provide. Each Saturday, the organization holds small events geared to educate, engage, and excite the public about home repair and self-sufficiency. This month, Saturday activities begin at 11:00am and focus on staying warm all winter long.

Additionally, Buffalo ReUSE accepts material donations year-round. Anyone with reusable materials, surplus supplies, or tools is invited to donate by dropping them off at the ReSOURCE or calling to schedule a pick up. Tax-deductible donation receipts are available at the time of donation.

For more information, please call the ReSOURCE, the Buffalo ReUSE retail store at (716) 882-2800 or email at