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Northtowns and CSCR seek action against UB for Tonawanda Coke soil study exclusion

Posted at 5:49 PM, Mar 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-06 21:06:50-05

Three elected officials and Citizens Science Community Resources are seeking action against the University at Buffalo, after saying they've been excluded them from the Tonawanda Coke soil study.

The Town of Tonawanda's Supervisor Joe Emminger, Town of Grand Island's Supervisor Nate McMurray, City of Tonawanda's Mayor Rick Davis and Phil Haberstro with CSCR held a press conference Wednesday to express their concerns.

"We want to work with UB. We feel that we are being left out of the process," said Emminger.

"I think they think they have their way and it's going to be that way, and that we are left out of it," said McMurray.

The study began in 2017. Tonawanda Coke shut down permanently in October 2018.

It was ordered to pay millions of dollars as a settlement. The money was then used for soil testing in those areas.

Grand Island, Town and City of Tonawada along with Citizen Science said they and their communities have been left out.

Not only out of the research process, but they said almost all the money has been used for UB-led research, leaving out the stakeholders.

"These moneys that were levied in a fine by judge Skretny were meant to go towards our three communities," said Davis.

A statement from the University at Buffalo said in part the soil study work performed by CSCR was covered by a contract with the Research Foundation for the State University of New York.

The Research Foundation has the fiscal responsibility to ensure only documented expenses, directly related to the project's scope of work, are reimbursed with Tonawanda Coke settlement funds.

It goes on to add that CSCR received more than $100,000 for its work on the soil study, and the recent invoices the Foundation received were not directly related to the project.

But CSCR argued their invoices are directly related to the project.

"CSCR has $25,000 in invoices that have been refused to be paid," said Haberstro.

Haberstro said they are requesting that judge William Skretny revisit this case to help keep the three communities and CSCR involved.