Tonawanda News — The case, which began Wednesday before Judge William Skretny, is the result of a 19-count indictment against the company that alleges Tonawanda Coke and Kamholz knowingly violated two federal environmental laws, and then hid the plant’s defects from inspectors.
For residents living near the facility, the criminal charges were a long time coming. More than 20 civil suits have been filed by individuals living near the plant that allege the company’s environmental hazards have caused illness and serious disease. DEC air monitors installed in 2009 found levels of benzene in the air surrounding the plant 10 times greater than what the state says is safe.
And a study recently completed by the state Department of Health confirmed “statistically significant” increased rates of various types of cancer among residents living near the facility.
The jury trial will continue Wednesday.Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000, ext. 4150