Residents Push for Tonawanda Coke Oversight

June 2, 2011 Updated Jun 2, 2011 at 6:32 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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June 2, 2011 Updated Jun 2, 2011 at 6:32 PM EDT

Tonawanda, NY (WKBW) Residents living near the Tonawanda Coke Plant are demanding better oversight of the clean up at the company found to be putting dangerous chemicals into the air.

Tonawanda homeowners and families want to send a strong message to Tonawanda Coke: "We're still here, we're still fighting, and don't forget about us." Members of the Western New York Clean Air Coalition met in a playground less than a mile from the smokestacks of the factory to send their message to the public.

Residents have been fighting against the corporation, who they accuse of sending cancer-causing pollution into the air, for years. Tonawanda Coke has been investigated and fined by the DEC and the EPA in the past, and residents want to make sure the oversight is still strong and that the health and well-being of local residents is not being jeopardized for the sake of making a profit.

Resident Ann Sciandra had strong words for the corporation and its owner. "You need to do what you're supposed to do. You can't ignore the facts, ignore what's going on. You have to take care of it. There are not just your workers in the plant, there are families who are growing and they don't deserve to have an unfair life because of you," she said.

A representative for Tonawanda Coke said the company has no comment on the press conference or any of the accusations.

The Clean Air Coalition sent a letter today to the local DEC representative asking for continued vigilance in watching over Tonawanda Coke. The group says it will continue to fight to protect all residents, especially future generations.