Neighbors Concerned About Erie Coke
A meeting is being held tonight involving neighbors who live close to the Erie Coke plant. The plant is under a lot of scrutiny because it continues to rack up pollution violations at the same time it is asking for its operating permit to be renewed.
It's all because of action that took place this past week in Tonawanda, New York. A coke plant in that community, with the same ownership as Erie Coke, was shut down much to the delight of the state government and local citizens.
Tonawanda Coke closed after filing for bankruptcy, still owing millions in pollution fines. It is still facing at least 20 private lawsuits from citizens. Erie Coke remains open while it applies for the renewal of its operating permit for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. A public hearing must be held before any decision is made on granting, or denying, that operating permit.
With the Tonawanda Coke closing as an example, members of the East Avenue/Hess Avenue Neighborhood Watch now realize what can happen when public pressure is applied. They will gather tonight to plan how to best apply that pressure to government officials.
Father Jerry Priscaro says the neighborhood watch group wants to learn how it can help end pollution violations at Erie Coke, or even shut it down.
"We're all for jobs. We're all for business. We're all for growth. We're all for compliance. Our concern is that when there's non-compliance, and when there's health issues and people at risk. So the goal would be to try and resolve any differences and to bring them back into compliance. But it doesn't seem that that has worked,” Priscaro said.
A date has not been set for the public hearing.