Tonawanda News

The Town

April 11, 2013

DEC Commissioner Joseph Martes makes a STATE VISIT|DEC chief visits area after Coke conviction


Tonawanda News —

Tonawanda Coke and the plant's Environmental Manager Mark Kamholz were convicted on 14 of 19 counts March 29 of violating the federal Clean Air and Resource Recovery and Conservation acts. Tonawanda Coke faces a potential $200 million fine and Kamholz 75 years in prison at sentencing July 15.

Erin Heaney, executive director of the Clean Air Coalition, said prior to the meeting her group would press Martens to keep air quality monitors in place — and sought a promise to extend funding beyond 2014, the last year the DEC has budgeted for them.

But while Martens indicated Thursday that he understood the importance of the air monitors for use as evidence against the company, he did not specifically commit to keeping them in place past the funding deadline, citing the cost of maintaining them. 

"Our whole philosophy is to make any entity comply with the permit," he said. "Compliance is the big issue here. The convictions have gotten not only Tonawanda Coke's attention, but everybody's attention. I think the message to industry across the country is that if you don't comply there could be serious consequences."  

Contact reporter Michael Regan at 693-1000, ext. 4115.

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