Northtowns Residents Meet to Discuss Tonawanda Coke

September 28, 2010 Updated Sep 29, 2010 at 8:47 AM EDT

By WKBW News

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September 28, 2010 Updated Sep 29, 2010 at 8:47 AM EDT

TONAWANDA, NY (WKBW) Residents of the Tonawanda, Kenmore, Grand Island, and Riverside communities came together tonight to discuss Tonawanda Coke, the local plant that many blame for health problems. Many claim that toxins put into the air from the nearby plant have caused health issues ranging from asthma to cancer for years.

"Out of my five grandchildren, four have severe asthma, I have tremors, my father died of lung cancer, and I know of three people that have cancer on my street," said concerned resident Jackie Dillon.

Cameras were not allowed into the room once the meeting began, organizers citing legal and privacy concerns. But there was no shortage of anger and criticism towards the company beforehand.

"I think they need to step up to the plate, and be a good corporate citizen. Obviously they need to follow the law. They need to take responsibility for their actions," said Erie County Legislator Maria Whyte.

"Tonawanda Coke has not only caused an inconvenience. They have impacted peoples lives irreparably. And we live in a society where you have to account for your actions, and Tonawanda Coke has to account for their actions," Charles Cobb, one of the organizers, and one of the attorneys involved said.