Tonawanda News

Local News

March 5, 2014

Prosecutor urge locals to apply as Tonawanda Coke victims

(Continued)

Tonawanda News — Mango cautioned attendees that if Skretny does rule in favor of the government, victims may need to testify under oath, and they would be subject to cross examination. He also reminded residents that completing the form is separate from victim impact statements, which have already been sent to the judge for his review.

Defense attorneys have argued that that there is no legal basis to name the community as a victim in the case and that a victims’ sentencing hearing should not be held.

“I see a very treacherous invitation to inject a wide range of testimony, the competency of which we have no way of measuring,” defense attorney Gregory Linsin said at an October hearing in federal court.

The victim form is available on the Department of Justice’s website, www.justice.gov/usao/nyw. Mango will also attend a Clean Air Coalition meeting at 6 p.m. Monday at the Kaufman Fire Hall, 39 Kaufman Ave., Town of Tonawanda.

Citizen Science Community Resources, the group that hosted the Department of Justice on Monday night, also presented results from soil testing that was completed near the plant.

The preliminary test revealed that samples near Tonawanda Coke had elevated levels of the carcinogen Benzo[a]pyrene, or BaP. Jackie James-Creedon, the leader of the CSCR group, has tested for BaP and other contaminants near Tonawanda Coke before, and has found similar results.

“It at least appears based on this preliminary data that those sites maybe a half-mile south of the plant seem to have some elevated levels of this BaP equivalent,” said Michael Milligan, a chemistry professor at Fredonia State College who assisted with the testing.

There is no clear benchmark of what constitutes an unsafe level of BaP, Milligan said, but the Environmental Protection Agency has initiated remediation projects in neighborhoods with levels of 1.5 parts per million.

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