Tonawanda News

The Town

December 7, 2012

Clean Air group's docs sought

TOWN OF TONAWANDA — The law firm representing Tonawanda Coke and its owner and CEO J.D. Crane subpoenaed documents from The Clean Air Coalition of WNY for use in a civil suit in August, according to court papers. 

Crane has reportedly refused to meet with the organization three times, but, confronted with numerous lawsuits, his lawyers have demanded the coalition turn over its records — even though the organization isn’t a plaintiff in the case, currently in state Supreme Court. 

“The reason you are being required to appear and produce documents is that you have information relevant to the defense of this lawsuit,” the subpoena document states.

The Clean Air Coalition has rallied against the corporation for years, attacking the company for sickening area residents and potentially causing cancer and other diseases with illegal air pollution emitted from the smokestacks at its River Road foundry. As part of their investigations, coalition members talked to residents about their illnesses, communicated with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation and completed its own chemical testing and air sampling to augment an investigation by state and federal agencies.

The law firm Hodgson Russ requested a broad range of documents in the subpoena in order to find out exactly what the Clean Air Coalition had uncovered.

Lawyers requested “any and all documents concerning Tonawanda Coke Corporation, J.D. Crane, or Mark Kamholz,” the plant’s environmental control manager who was arrested by federal investigators for violating the nation’s Clean Air Act. The subpoena included any documents sent to or received from the DEC, the Environmental Protection Agency and any other governmental body, as well as the same information regarding entities operating within 25 miles of Tonawanda Coke.

Information on air emissions, waste water treatment, storage and generation of chemicals such as benzene and potential health effects as a result to exposure to such chemicals was also requested.

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