Tonawanda News

Opinion

August 3, 2012

Setting the record straight on DuPont

Last September, the Town of Tonawanda and several partners signed a charter to formally launch the Tonawanda E3 Initiative — a new program to help us address critical issues of economy, environment and energy in our community. A key to the success of this new and bold initiative is building lasting relationships among residents, government, business and a host of support agencies. 

We have made slow and steady progress in our efforts to educate companies about the E3 Initiative, and identify potential projects to increase the competitiveness of our industrial base while reducing the impact on our environment. Whenever we challenge ourselves to take new roads, however, there are often bumps along the way.

A recent media event organized by the WNY Clean Air Coalition (CAC) represents such a bump. Statements were made at the event that — on face value — are factual. Without a closer look at the facts, however, the public may be led to inaccurate conclusions. It is important to clarify the public record in fairness to the company criticized during the event, as well as to continued success of the Tonawanda E3 Initiative. 

As reported in the Tonawanda News, the media event was held on June 28 outside the DuPont plant on River Road. Erin Heaney, executive director of the CAC, was technically correct in stating that DuPont was fined $165,000 for a violation of the federal Clean Air Act. Without clarification, however, readers might infer that the company was guilty of improper emissions. In fact, the violation was for failing to properly calibrate and test monitoring equipment. 

Ms. Heaney was also technically correct in stating that DuPont has been listed as “non-compliant” with the Clean Air Act for a three year period. Without clarification, readers might again infer that the company was guilty of improper emissions during that period. In fact, environmental officials point out that their tracking system does not remove the “non-compliant” status until formal paperwork is filed — long after the company resolved the calibration and testing violations. They state that DuPont responds quickly to their calls and the company is in compliance. 

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