Tonawanda News

The Town

June 29, 2012

Clean Air Coalition targets DuPont factory



Germain Harnden, of the council on occupational safety, claimed DuPont, as a policy, doesn’t include workers’ input in formulating safety protocols, an issue she said can contribute to hazards at the plants.

“When you don’t have worker input, accidents happen,” she said. 

On the subject of labor, Allison Duwe, of the coalition for economic justice, joined protesters and said whether the company adds or retains jobs using state tax credits, closer scrutiny is needed prior to approval. She said use of temporary workers at the plant, as well as the alleged safety issues, works against the fundamental benefit of good-paying jobs.

Schimminger said he wasn’t aware of any specifics of the alleged environmental violations at DuPont, which Heaney said have occurred for three consecutive years.

“We want to assure the community that environmental stewardship is a DuPont core value which we take very seriously,” Lee wrote. “Those with specific concerns about our site should bring them directly to us so that we can address them properly.”

Heaney said the plant is responsible for up to 20 percent of emissions in Erie County, and uses known carcinogens in its processes, including vinyl flouride — the vapors from which ignited, triggering the explosion that killed the subcontractor.

“Economic development dollars should not be given away to companies that are chronic polluters,” she said before cheers erupted from others on hand, with the Western New York Council on Occupational Safety, the Coalition for Economic Justice and the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute.

Contact city editor Neale Gulley at 693-1000, ext. 4114

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