Chemical Waste Management (CWM) has been in the news lately for two proposals that would impact their business operations. The first, which consists of sending almost 75,000 tons of toxic waste from a Superfund site north of Glens Falls to CWM, appears to be a no-brainer. After all, who wants 1,500 truckloads of PCBs running through their neighborhood?
But this facility in Porter is the only hazardous waste dump in the Northeast, so is it better to ship it through New York State to some other location even further away? The company has already taken in nearly 33,000 tons of waste from a project site in Schenectady County, and nearly 25,000 tons of contaminated soil from a site in Delaware County came to CWM last year. This simply looks like another case of not-in-my-backyard. The reality of the situation is that we do have a hazardous waste facility in Niagara County. They need to be able to do what they are in business to do.
Which leads us to the second recent issue for CWM. They have placed an application with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to expand the current facility. CWM officials have asked the state to allow them to build a new, 50-acre landfill on their 710-acre site.
Again, we must wonder why the opposition? They are a hazardous waste landfill. Does anyone like the fact that there corporations in the past have polluted earth? Of course not. But CWM is in business to take that material and either clean it or place it in a location which will keep it away from the general population. Who in Porter did not know this when they moved there?
As a side note, I'd love to know what the Erie County Leg is doing passing a resolution opposing the expansion of CWM, especially since Erie County has shipped 116,000 tons of hazardous waste from Erie County projects alone in recent years.
The other part of this equation is brownfields. The state is investing hundreds of millions into remediating brownfield sites. Many of these sites are contaminated. If corporations which are investing in these sites experience exponential costs of shipping the material because it now needs to go out of state, many of these projects will not get done. The economic impact would be very detrimental.
In the end, it comes down to CWM and their ability to conduct business in a responsible manner. There are massive amounts of regulations that they must follow. The day that they are no longer a responsible neighbor, some of this criticism may be appropriate. Until that day, they are simply another business in Niagara County and should be treated as such.