Tonawanda Coke intends to begin a shutdown of of the plant, as early as next week, according to court documents.
On October 11, 2018, the government spoke with counsel for Tonawanda Coke, who advised that Tonawanda Coke intends to begin a shutdown of the plant on or about Tuesday, October 16, 2018. Because Tonawanda Coke now plans to shut down, the government has concerns regarding Tonawanda Coke’s ability to make the final community service payment, and hereby moves the Court to compel the disclosure of financial information of Tonawanda Coke, and to reconsider its prior order staying the payment of the final community service payment.
The Department of Environmental Conservation issued this statement on Friday:
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) was informed by the Tonawanda Coke Corporation that due to their financial inability to legally operate the plant, they are pursing plans to shutdown the plant. While no closure date has been provided by company, DEC will dispatch staff to oversee the safe shutdown of the TCC plant in Tonawanda, NY, and will be on-site during shutdown operations to ensure the remaining workforce and the community are protected and to secure the site. The State Department of Labor (DOL) is dispatching a Rapid Response team to assist impacted workers with intensive job placement services and information about how to access vital benefits such as unemployment insurance and NYS Marketplace affordable health care options.
The DEC then released this statement Sunday afternoon stating the shutdown process has begun:
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is overseeing the safe shut down of the Tonawanda Coke Corporation’s (TCC) plant in Tonawanda, NY, and will ensure the company is held accountable for an orderly closure of the plant. DEC will be on-site during these operations to ensure the remaining workforce and the community are protected during the shutdown process and to secure the site.
The shutdown process started today under rigorous DEC oversight. Over the next few days, TCC will begin the process of purging and flaring coke oven gas out of its battery and piping system with a combination of nitrogen and steam and the battery ovens will also be emptied of coke. This process will involve visible flames coming from the plant and DEC’s onsite inspectors will ensure workers and the surrounding community are protected, and coordinate with state and local emergency responders if any incidents occur. In addition, DEC will ensure the site is fully secured to prevent any access to the plant once it is shuttered.
After the shutdown is complete, DEC and a multi-agency effort will work to stabilize the site and ensure the proper closure of tanks and disposal of any hazardous materials. A comprehensive investigation of the site will also be immediately launched to identify any contamination at the site and develop a cleanup plan through a transparent, public process that ensures community input at every step.
The New York State Department of Labor is responding through Rapid Response session where impacted employees receive help with finding a new job.
DOL Commissioner Roberta Reardon commented:
While not unexpected, the Department of Labor stands ready to help the workers who have lost their livelihood because of this negligent company’s blatant disregard for the health and safety of the community. Starting with the change of shift Monday morning, our team will be on the ground meeting with displaced workers. We’ll be here for as long as we’re needed -- to help these men and women access the benefits they need and most importantly, find them new jobs.
According to a statement from the NYS DOL, the Rapid Response team is assisting impacted workers as of Sunday:
The New York Department of Labor today dispatched a Rapid Response team to assist impacted workers from the Tonawanda Coke Corporations (TCC) plant with intensive job placement services and unemployment and medical benefits information.
“Our team was on the ground starting this morning. We’ll be here for as long as we’re needed to help these men and women access the benefits they need and most importantly, find them new jobs,” said Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon.
Aside from having staff on site at the TCC facility, DOL will also be opening their local career centers early tomorrow (7:30 a.m.) to continue providing services. Career counselors and unemployment insurance specialists will be on- site to assist. Displaced workers are urged to stop into either the Buffalo Career Center (284 Main St, Buffalo, NY, 14202, 716.851.2600) or the Niagara Falls Career Center (Trott ACCESS Building, 1001 – 11th Street, Niagara Falls, 14301, 716.278.8258).
Two Rapid Response sessions are scheduled for impacted workers on Thursday, October 18, at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the United Steel Workers Union Hall, 810 Sheridan Drive, Tonawanda, NY 14150. Computers will be available for affected workers to apply online for unemployment insurance and search for jobs. All workers are welcome at these sessions, whether they are represented by the union or not.
In the coming days, DOL will be scheduling targeted career fairs for TCC employees. All workers will be contacted through the local mail to notify them of the career fair dates and locations, as well as provide information on what services they are eligible for.
Read the full court document below:
450. Govt Motion to Compel by on Scribd