Tonawanda News

The Town

June 23, 2013

PATTERN OF POLLUTION

(Continued)

Tonawanda News — Tennessee and Toledo 

Like Tonawanda Coke, Crane’s plant in Toledo was also the subject of a lawsuit. Crane bought the Ohio plant in 1987 and just two years later the Ohio Attorney General sued the company for violating six emission limits. 

The suit came just a year after the EPA ordered the plant to pay $40,000 in fines for failing to use mandated pollution-control equipment. 

“They’re well aware of their continued violations,” Donald Moline, Toledo’s commissioner of environmental services told the Toledo Blade in June 1989. “Any day of the week we can go out there and get a violation.”

Residents’ complaints about the plant’s pollution closely mirrored the health issues Tonawanda residents have experienced. For years, Toledo citizens complained about the plant’s soot and dust settling on their homes and cars — allegations that local activist Jackie James-Creedon has also levied. 

Now, decades later, the plant is owned by the Toledo Lucas Port Authority. An agency representative said it purchased the plant from Beazer Corp., in 2004. 

Beazer agreed to complete the environmental remediation at the plant, which cost $5 million. Crane, along with any other previous owners, did not contribute to the cleanup. 

Unlike Crane’s management of his other plants, his run in Chattanooga, Tenn. was short-lived. But the brief history speaks to the a long record of his plants’ financial troubles.

Crane only operated Southern Coke for 11 months in 1986 before declaring bankruptcy, Tennessee Department of Environmental Conservation records show. The city of Chattanooga then took over the site due to an issue with back taxes, but city officials refused to comment on whether Crane was responsible for the delinquent funds. 

Crane, along with a long history of other operators including the U.S. government during World War II, left the site contaminated. Soil testing at the plant detected concentrations of benzene and acetone. 

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