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West Side residents accuse city leaders of ignoring air quality around Peace Bridge

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Some West Side residents living near the Peace Bridge are accusing a number of lawmakers and the Governor of working with the Peace Bridge Authority to expand the plaza for a new Duty Free shop. 

Several spoke out Tuesday at a Buffalo Common Council Community Development committee meeting.  They said the leaders are ignoring major air quality issues.  

Elizabeth Martina, who lives directly across from the Peace Bridge, spoke on behalf of long-time resident Kathy Mecca who was unable to attend. 

Martina read a letter Mecca wrote accusing Niagara District Council member David Rivera of ignoring air quality issues.

"At a series of recent meetings with the mayor, Rivera and Governor Cuomo's senior staff and several of us were warned by Mayor Brown that we were not allowed to discuss moving of the trucks. No explanation, just a gag order from the governor.  If it isn't possible then why not tell us the reason.  What are they afraid of?," read Martina.

Besty Murphy has lived on Columbus Parkway for 30-years.

"Today's announcement that they are going to do preclearance, or whatever they are calling it this year, over in Fort Erie, they want you that is going to solve everything, because everyone is going to zip along and get off the plaza quicker.  Something is causing people over there, directly in the wind of coming off the lake from the 3,000 trucks, is making them sick but we can all pull or chins and wonder.  I kind of think it's the trucks," said Murphy.

Residents say a full environmental impact study for expansion must be conducted.  They say the State DEC air monitoring around the Peace Bridge is too late.