Local grassroots group says landfill plan stinks

By Dan Miner/minerd@gnnewspaper.com

The Tonawanda News

April 19, 2007 10:32 am

The grassroots organization that has made removing legal radioactive materials from the Town of Tonawanda landfill its mission met Wednesday at Tonawanda High School.

Clean Up Riverview's Environment, or CURE, co-chairs Rick Davis, Chris Thomas and Joyce Hogenkamp addressed a crowd of about 25, discussing their dissatisfaction with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed plan and outlining what they plan to do next.

Davis, also a City of Tonawanda Councilman, pointed out what he called inconsistencies in the proposed plan, issued March 26.

"It's really pretty pathetic," he said.

The Army Corps' position that there is no documentation the federal government dumped radioactive materials in the landfill was a particular subject of Davis' derision, as he pointed out that they were the only entity in the area which manufactured such materials, and that because they didn't document doesn't mean they didn't do it.

He also scorned the fact that the Army Corps hasn't tested on nearby residents' properties, despite urging by Sens. Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton, and Rep. Louise Slaughter.

Meeting attendees devoted about 20 minutes to discussion of a proposed road that would go behind homes on Hackett Drive. Davis has publicly been against the road, while Mayor Ron Pilozzi has written a letter in support of it.

"The biggest thing you need to do is attend the common council meetings," Hogenkamp said of opposition to the road. "If you don't go to those, the mayor won't do anything with the road."

Ultimately, the CURE co-chairs applauded a Monday letter issued by Clinton on the landfill, and urged attendees to keep the pressure on federal lawmakers, since it is they who have the most influence with the Army Corps.

They have also planned a "call day," the day after an Army Corps April 25 public meeting, to collect oral comments on the proposed plan. On that day, the theory goes, city residents will call their local lawmakers in hordes to urge action on the landfill.

"Every City of Tonawanda and Town of Tonawanda resident needs to call these people," Hogenkamp said. "If you're thinking you're not going to be heard if this is done right, you're crazy."

Contact reporter Dan Miner at 693-1000, ext. 115.

Copyright 2007, Tonawanda News