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State Attorney General files lawsuit against Buffalo-based Battaglia Demolition

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WBFO file photo/Chris Caya
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A Buffalo-based company which operates a demolition debris facility in the city's Seneca-Babcock neighborhood is being sued by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. The lawsuit contends that Battaglia Demolition has, for years, plagued more than two dozen local residents with dust, odors and noise, while failing to operate with required state environmental permits.

Schneiderman's lawsuit, which names owner Peter Battaglia, Jr., seeks to temporarily shut down his company's operations on Peabody Street, operating under the name Battaglia Trucking, until "noxious conditions" are abated.

"In addition, he has failed to file required environmental permit applications with DEC," said Jane Cameron, Assistant Attorney General in the Environmental Protection Bureau and the lead attorney for the plaintiff. "Those permit applications are meant to protect the environment and to protect the local community."

The lawsuit contends that Battaglia has failed to acquire those permits after six notices by the DEC and a court order earlier this year. Schneiderman's office is asking the State Supreme Court to assess financial penalties for "violation of multiple state environmental laws."

WBFO attempted to contact Battaglia Demolition for comment. A phone call was answered with a recorded greeting stating that the voice mailbox was full and not accepting any messages. An email to the company was not returned as of late Wednesday afternoon. 

The problems for neighbors escalated, Cameron said, when Battaglia installed a concrete crusher on site in 2011. 

Thirty neighbors have submitted signed affidavits, according to Cameron, lodging complaints not only about the smells and air quality but also about the truck traffic coming in and out of Battaglia's facility, which is accessed via Peabody Street.  

"There's concern about safety in relation to the traffic," Cameron said about the neighbors' statements. "The trucks are described as often driving fast, they drive over neighbors' lawns, they drive up on the curb. They disobey stop signs. In fact, stop signs have literally been knocked over, according to the residents."

The neighbors' complaints about Battaglia are not new. Two years ago, Senator Charles Schumer urged the Environmental Protection Agency to intervene. 

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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