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EPA Provides Major Grant to CACWNY

Release Date: 03/05/2012
Contact Information: Michael Basile (646) 369-0055, (716) 551-4410,

(Buffalo, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a $100,000 federal Community Action for a Renewed Environment grant to the Clean Air Coalition of Western New York for a community project in Tonawanda, New York. The EPA grant will assist the Tonawanda community in prioritizing the environmental and health risks posed by a range of polluting facilities in this industrial area outside of Buffalo, New York. Tonawanda has 53 industrial facilities, including a coke plant, two petroleum distribution terminals, multiple chemical bulk storage terminals, a coal-burning power plant, a tire manufacturing plant and two interstate highways within its borders.

“The EPA is supporting communities like Tonawanda, N.Y., that face varied and often serious environmental and public health challenges,” said Judith A. Enck, EPA Regional Administrator. “By bringing together business leaders, community members, elected officials and businesses, we can work together to protect the environment and people’s health. Tonawanda is a wonderful community where people have joined together to tackle a range of pollution problems. The EPA is delighted to provide a grant to the Clean Air Coalition of Western New York to ensure that continued progress is made in reducing pollution, protecting public health and encouraging businesses to embrace more sustainable practices.”

“The CARE grant has allowed the coalition to reach out to a diverse group of stakeholders in Tonawanda,” said Erin Heaney, the Coalition’s Executive Director. “We have built new, powerful relationships with local business, parent organizations, local government agencies, faith based organizations, and individual residents. This summer the coalition will engage residents in air testing, photographic research, and tabulating information about dangerous toxins in the air, water and soil. The CARE partnership will develop a list of environmental threats to the community and rank the imminent threats. Together we will make Tonawanda a better place to work, live and play.”

In addition to the EPA and the Clean Air Coalition, other key partners in the effort include the Town of Tonawanda, Buffalo First!, Ken-Ton Chamber of Commerce, members of Tonawanda’s PTA and local faith-based leaders. The group expects the partnership to grow throughout the year.

The EPA provided the Clean Air Coalition of Western New York with a CARE grant to fund this effort in July 2012. The coalition is using this grant to lead a public process to identify and prioritize pollution problems in the Tonawanda community and find ways to reduce the health and environmental risks they may pose. The coalition is convening and facilitating meetings with community groups, businesses and elected officials and engaging experts in the compilation of a list of local environmental hazards, potentially including air pollution and land contamination from industrial facilities in the area, nuclear waste in the town landfill, housing, climate change and other pressing issues. The community group will also sponsor capacity building workshops and make innovative use of photography to document environmental problems.

For more information on the CARE grant program or this project, visit: or

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