The Department of Environmental Conservation has officially demanded that Tonawanda Coke Corporation immediately stop all operations associated with potentially harming workers, the surrounding community, and the environment. This is in relation to emissions coming from the plant.
The full statement is below:
“In response to repeated violations and ongoing concerns about air pollution, I have demanded that Tonawanda Coke Corporation immediately cease and desist all operations associated with violations at this facility to prevent potential harm to its workers, surrounding community, and the environment and have commenced revocation of the facility’s air permits. In addition, I have directed DEC staff to deploy additional air monitoring equipment to ensure the surrounding community is not being impacted from their egregious violations.”
According to a DEC spokesperson, this order to cease operations affects the coke oven battery, which is the main production process of the plant.
It's unclear how many workers are affected by this and what this means for them moving forward.
Late Friday evening, a spokesperson for Tonawanda Coke issued this statement:
"Tonawanda Coke was served with a Cease and Desist letter via email at approximately 3 PM this afternoon. Tonawanda Coke has been cooperating and working closely with the Regional New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Once the collapse of the waste heat tunnel had been identified, the Company reported to the Department all known relevant information, including a stack draft malfunction report which included a detailed explanation.
Tonawanda Coke has been diligently working on a long term solution to the operational issues caused by the collapse of waste heat air tunnel. Through various meetings, the DEC was being informed on the efforts Tonawanda Coke has been pursuing and the long term compliance plan it will be putting forth in the near future.
Many of the Notices of Violations (NOVs) alleged by the DEC were directly related to issues arising from the original waste heat tunnel collapse.
Tonawanda Coke shares the same goals as the DEC, and strives to provide a safe environment for its employees and the surrounding communities. We look forward to working with the DEC to resolve these issues, and continuing our operations, which contribute to the vibrant Buffalo-area community and workforce."