(WKBW release) New York State Assemblyman Sean Ryan on Wednesday called on the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to install air monitoring equipment at locations on Buffalo’s west side.
In a letter to DEC commissioner Joe Martens, Ryan pointed out that the DEC currently has two air monitoring locations in the Town of Tonawanda, one located in the Brookside Terrance neighborhood and another near the 290 off of Grand Island Boulevard. With these air monitors the DEC is able to gather data to determine air quality and ensure that levels of certain particulates are within legal and safe limits.
Buffalo’s west side is situated near major high traffic roadways, similar to the locations already being monitored by the DEC in Tonawanda. Studies have shown that chronic respiratory illness and asthma are a continuing and growing problem in the neighborhoods of Buffalo’s west side. In order to address these ongoing concerns, and to determine the extent of particulate matter, air monitors must be put into place. This will allow the DEC to formulate a solution, and allow community groups like the Clean Air Coalition of Western New York to assist in efforts to improve air quality on the west side of Buffalo.
At a press conference that took place at a playground on Massachusetts Avenue, Assemblyman Ryan was joined by Erin Heaney, the Executive Director of the Clean Air Coalition of WNY, along with many members of the coalition, to call on the DEC to make the changes.
“The health and safety of west side residents is one of my top priorities,” Ryan said in a news release. “Many cases of chronic respiratory illness and asthma have been documented among west side residents, and we cannot stand by without knowing the full extent of the problem. It’s time for the DEC to take action and put air monitors in place so we can find a solution to this problem.”
“Everyone knows the lower west side of Buffalo has an asthma epidemic that is linked to the community’s disproportionate exposure to diesel fumes,” said Erin Heaney, Executive Director of the Clean Air Coalition of WNY. “In Tonawanda, air monitoring allowed us to identify solutions and track our progress reducing emissions. Air monitoring is critical on the lower west side if we are to ensure that any new Peace Bridge plans reduce the community’s exposure to dangerous toxics.”
“As a member of the Assembly’s Environmental Conservation Committee, I take a keen interest in important environmental issues like those facing residents on Buffalo’s west side,” added Ryan. “I applaud the scaled back plans for a new Peace Bridge plaza that will have a significantly reduced footprint from the original plans, and will spare many home from being demolished. At the same time, it only makes sense that air monitors be put into place so that we can judge the effectiveness of this new plaza as time goes on.”