NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) - On Saturday, Niagara Falls leaders held an open meeting for residents to voice any concerns they may have about plans Covanta Energy has to make changes to their facility in the city.
The company wants to bring trash from New York City to Niagara Falls by a rail line instead of bringing it in via trucks from Canada. The garbage will then be burned to provide steam energy to surrounding businesses. It will create 160 jobs during construction and 23 permanent ones.
Many neighbors said they’re against the change. “What are we? Are we industry or are we tourism? You can only have one or the other because really when you put the two together they don’t do well together,” said Joanne Gialloreto of Niagara Falls.
“We are not the garbage dumpsite capital in New York State and we’re going to speak out,” said Roger Spurback, the President of the Niagara Falls Block Club.
Some residents raised health concerns. “They say there will be 23 jobs at the cost of how many people’s health? Not only our health or our children’s health, or our children’s children health that’s my main concern,” said Roberta Rutkowski of Niagara Falls.
Covanta’s spokesman James Regan said plant upgrades won’t take in any more waste or emit any new particles.
“I want to assure people that there will not be any additional emissions from this change,” said Regan, “We have a robust pollution control system at the facility that starts with clean burn of waste then we have a very sophisticated pollution control system that’s monitored 24 hours a day.”
Covanta also plans to install a natural gas boiler that will help them provide steam to their clients.
The Niagara Falls Planning Board and New York City Sanitation Department have already granted permission for the project. They still need two permits to be approved by the DEC.
However, before the new infrastructure is created, many neighbors want to meet with Covanta officials face-to-face to figure out the long- and short-term affects of the changes. Covanta officials have said they’re more than willing to have that meeting.