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DEC falls behind on Peace Bridge air monitoring

WBFO News file photo

The state DEC has conducted only two enforcement sweeps at the "no idling zones" at the Peace Bridge in Buffalo.  

Investigative Postconducted a review and learned the DEC conducted a sweep in May and in August, inspecting 81 trucks and issuing just seven tickets.

The zones were established after studies indicated diesel fumes are linked to lung cancer.  Investigative Post environmental reporter Dan Telvock said a DEC official claims it is a "manpower" issue.

"Mr. [Erie County DEC enforcer Frank] Lauricella said they are pretty stretched thin.  He said Erie County has the most complaints out of any county in the district.  He's got eight officers for the entire county.  It's not feasible for them, he said, to have someone there all the time, so they are doing the best they can," said Telvock.

This past June, Niagara District Common Council member David Rivera and State Assemblyman Sean Ran wrote a letter urging the DEC to take more aggressive enforcement.  But later both lawmakers appeared to back off. 

"I keep going back to the letter Assemblyman Ryan and Councilmember Rivera sent to the DEC where they said it is a very serious problem, so I don't know what their next step is going to be.  But Rivera did say that he hopes to get the DEC in front of the Common Council sometime soon," said Telvock.

Residents living near the Peace bridge continue to criticize leaders.  They say they are giving in to the Peace Bridge plaza expansion that will include a new duty shop.