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OxyChem closing its Niagara Falls manufacturing operations, the company confirms

Aerial view of OxyChem operations in Niagara Falls NY
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Occidental Chemical, or OxyChem, is shutting down its manufacturing operations in Niagara Falls.

The company confirmed the move in an announcement Thursday morning.

In its news release, OxyChem cites “unfavorable regional market conditions as well as unreasonable and continually escalating rail transportation costs” for its decision to close its Buffalo Avenue manufacturing operations.

The company did not reveal in its announcement how many jobs are being lost when the plant closes in November, but it was later revealed to be 130 full-time employees and 20 contractors. OxyChem says it will provide continuing pay and benefits for at least three months, plus severance packages, outplacement services, counseling and, where possible, relocation of affected employees.

Occidental entered the Niagara Falls market in 1968 when it acquired the former Hooker Chemical Company, which had opened in 1903. Its best-known legacy is the environmental disaster at Love Canal in the late 1970s, where chemical waste buried years before seeped from its enclosures, exposing local homeowners. Hundreds of former residents are currently suing the company for what they say are the serious health problems caused by that exposure.

A spokesperson for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation tells WBFO that any cleanup projects related to the company will not be affected by the shutdown.

As part of its announcement, OxyChem states it will maintain some local corporate service functions. In addition, affiliate Glenn Springs Holdings will oversee the property once the operations shut down, and will manage OxyChem’s legacy properties.

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.