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DEC proposes new air quality laws

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

The State Environmental Conservation Department is making apparent major changes in its rules for air emissions. The matter was discussed Monday night at a public meeting in the Town of Tonawanda's Sheridan Parkside Community Center.

This was the fourth in a series of public hearings on the proposals, with an administrative law judge and a court stenographer to record the testimony. There was no information for those who attended to explain the effects of the changes and questions and answers were deferred until the public hearing was over.

DEC Environmental Engineer Michael Emery read a legal explanation of the changes, including this comment.

"It establishes a toxic best available control technology (TBACT) standard for toxic air contamination, clarifies the interaction between Part 212 and the NESAPS, and offers a streamlined approach for demonstrating compliance with the regulatory standards for air contaminants by adopting a mass emission rate option," said Emery.

Glenn Ratajczak from the Clean Air Coalition says the department is proposing to use computer modeling to study air emissions but didn't make it clear whose model and who checks the data.

The town has been going through some major air pollution problems in recent years, like the criminal activities at Tonawanda Coke, and some residents say they are very concerned about air pollution.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.