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State OKs change at CWM allowing more waste to be landfilled

   State environmental regulators have approved a proposal for a thinner cap on CWM Chemical Services' landfill in Porter.

   The move allows the hazardous waste facility to accept more waste without increasing the landfill's height or acreage.

   CWM has requested permission from the state to expand by building another landfill, a move that can't be granted until a plan to guide disposal of hazardous waste statewide is completed.

   Read News Niagara Reporter Thomas J. Prohaska's full story on the issue.

   --Aaron Besecker

Lawmakers propose state hazardous waste disposal tax

   State lawmakers introduced a bill earlier this month that would tax hazardous waste landfilled at CWM Chemical Services in Porter.

   The proposal estimates the creation of an additional $3 million in annual revenue, 10 percent of which would come to the Niagara County Health Department.

   Read today's full story on the issue.

   --Aaron Besecker

New environmental group looks to make waves - clean waves

   Stop dumping pollutants into the waters of the Niagara River and Great Lakes systems.

   That's the message a newly formed group wants to spread in communities in both the United States and Canada that surround the important fresh water resource.

   The Niagara Watershed Alliance, formed by some Niagara County residents and elected leaders, hopes to connect with other environmental groups and governments in their effort.

   To read the full story from today's Buffalo News, click here.

   If you want to hear what the organization has to say, they're holding a free public forum and discussion at 10 a.m. Saturday on the fourth floor of St. Vincent's Hall at Niagara University.

   The organization's Web site can be found here.

   --Aaron Besecker

Green technology still lags the county construction mix

 The Niagara Falls Bridge Commission was the first in Niagara County to construct a building that met a national standard for environmentally sensitive design.

  That was nearly five years ago.

   In the years since, only one other building in the county has obtained certification under the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system.

   A third building could obtain the "green" status this summer. The City of Niagara Falls and Ciminelli Development Co. have applied for LEED silver certification for a $47 million new courthouse and police headquarters on Main Street.

   But some say that's just not enough.

   Niagara County Community College did not strive for LEED certification on its building projects until the county Legislature made it a mandate.

   A story in today's Niagara Weekend section looks at what projects have aimed to meet the U.S. Green Building Council's standards.

   How do you think Niagara County rates when it comes to the environment?

   -- Denise Jewell Gee

The Lew-Port School Board steps into the CWM expansion debate

   The Lewiston-Porter School Board entered territory last month where it has yet to venture, voting 6-1 to ask the state Department of Environmental Conservation to consider the impact Chemical Waste Management's hazardous waste landfill has on the school district before approving an increase in the amount of waste CWM can store.

   "Trucks hauling debris containing hazardous materials pass the Lewiston-Porter campus on a daily basis," the resolution said, "and the Lewiston-Porter Board of Education wishes to ultimately eliminate hazardous waste truck traffic."

   Local governments in the two towns have been vocal in expressing concerns about the landfill expansion, but this is the first time the school board has passed such a resolution, according a story in today's Niagara & Region section.

   Board President Robert Weller, the lone vote against the resolution, said the school board was overstepping its bounds in pressuring the DEC to reject CWM's expansion plans.

   "We are trying to shut down a legitimate, law-abiding, high-tech business that provides a service: removing and isolating from us the very hazards that we produce or use in our everyday lives."

   A CWM official also pointed out that the company pays about $750,000 in taxes annually to the district.

   Board member Michael Gentile said during the April 21 meeting, "I don't see anywhere where it says [in the resolution that] we're shutting anybody down."

   Should the district have become involved in this issue?

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