Schumer asks EPA to probe pollution from Buffalo business

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Neighbors in Buffalo’s Seneca-Babcock community say dust from the Battaglia Demolition is ruining their quality of life.

Seneca-Babcock Community Block Club President Arthur Robinson said, “The summertime is totally ruined because the dust is so bad on our homes and on our porches, on our vehicles, you can’t even walk down the street without getting dust in your eyes.”

The dust from the concrete crushed at the plant has never been tested for pollutants, but residents believe it’s making them sick. Senator Charles Schumer believes their health concerns are valid and visited the neighborhood Wednesday to join their fight.

“Residents of this neighborhood have been battling health issues. People suffer from migraines, bloody noses and in some of the worst cases people have reported trouble breathing and their kids with asthma,” said Schumer.

So far, the senator says Battaglia has successfully fought against state requirements to meet clean air standards by finding loopholes and exemptions in state law. He says it’s time the federal Environmental Protection Agency steps in.

Schumer explained, “Federal law is much tougher, frankly, than state law with fewer loopholes and much tougher enforcement. We learned that at Tonawanda Coke, we’ve learned that at Love Canal, we’ve learned that at other places where there’s a lot of pollution.”

Not knowing what’s in the truckloads of concrete going into the plant each day is keeping some neighbors up at night.

Edward Loucks said, “I sleep better [and] I breathe better when I’m not at home and that’s not right.”

In a phone interview, Battaglia’s owner maintained he’s not breaking any laws and he’s trying to operate an honest business. The company wasn’t forced to apply for a state air quality permit because the concrete crusher they use is mobile. He also argues it’s too small to cause major pollution.

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