Le Roy Chemicals Not Coming to Niagara County

February 4, 2012 Updated Feb 4, 2012 at 12:30 PM EDT

By WKBW News

February 4, 2012 Updated Feb 4, 2012 at 12:30 PM EDT

Lockport (WKBW) State Senator George Maziarz said he was proud, he was relieved, and he was tired of being on the phone. This after a marathon of protesting the Environmental Protection Agency's decision to ship truck loads of chemicals from Le Roy to Niagara County.

With the 'mystery illness' still grabbing headlines, as over a dozen Le Roy residents continue to suffer Tourette-like symptoms, many are investigating whether environmental factors could play a part. One of the biggest issues, a railroad derailment in 1970 that spilled over a ton of chemicals into the soil. Some of the remnants of that crash are still being stored in barrels on site.

So local Congressional leadership decided to push the EPA to move those chemicals. The EPA agreed, and the proposed new home for them would be at the Chemical Waste Management (CWM) site in Niagara County.

"Hours later, after some of our questions were answered, CWM was persuaded not top accept the materials," Senator Maziarz said at a news conference late Friday.

"If it was dangerous for this material to be within 4 miles of the Le Roy School District, certainly putting it within one mile of the Lewport School District was unacceptable," Maziarz said.

The big question that remains is where will the chemicals go now? Maziarz and other local representatives said they don't know, as long as it isn't in Niagara County.

Here is the full release:

Officials from New York State and Lewiston-Porter School District Block Transfer of Materials from LeRoy Superfund Site to Niagara County

Lockport, NY-Senator George Maziarz, Assemblyman John Ceretto and Lewiston-Porter Superintendent Chris Roser announced this evening that attempts to relocate sensitive materials from the LeRoy Superfund Site to Niagara County have rebuffed and federal officials will have to look elsewhere.

Earlier today, after a press release from Congresswomen Kathy Hochul announcing the transfer of sensitive materials out of the LeRoy location, local officials learned that the materials were destined for the CWM facility located within one mile of Lewiston-Porter School District.

“Niagara County will not serve as a dumping ground for other communities dangerous materials,” said Maziarz. “If these materials are harmful in LeRoy four miles from a school district, why should we accept them just a mile away here in Lew-Port?”

“The decision to refuse the materials is the right one,” said Ceretto. “Niagara County’s residents should be assured that their state and local officials are working together to ensure that Niagara County isn’t cleaning up another counties mess.”

“Our first responsibility as a school district is the safety of our students,” said Roser. “We all are aware of the situation in LeRoy, with that Superfund Site being the center of the discussion, we of course objected to the materials coming into close proximity to our students.”

The decision to reject the materials came after discussions with CWM, who decided against handling the materials. The transfer of the materials had previously been announced as an agreement between the EPA and Congresswoman Hochul.