Local Officials Announce DEC Agrees to Put New Measures in Place at the Peace Bridge

Department of Environmental Conservation agrees to monitor air near Peace Bridge – put conservation officers in place to enforce truck idling regulation
July 6, 2012

Buffalo –Today, July 6, 2012, New York State Assemblyman Sean Ryan, New York State Senators Tim Kennedy and Mark Grisanti, and Buffalo Common Council Member David Rivera announced that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has agreed to two different measures to address air quality near the Peace Bridge. First, DEC Environmental Conservation Officers will conduct sweeps to enforce truck idling regulations at the Peace Bridge. Second, the DEC will install air monitoring equipment at the Peace Bridge. These actions will be implemented in the next 45 days. Air monitoring will allow the DEC to access the air quality near the Peace Bridge, and definitively inform the public and the neighborhood as to what the actual air quality is. Putting conservation officers in place to enforce truck idling regulations will help to reduce emissions at the Peace Bridge.

At a press conference that took place at Front Park near the Peace Bridge, the local leaders were joined by Sam Hoyt, Chairman of the Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority. PBA Chairman Hoyt discussed how the PBA is partnering with the DEC to enforce truck idling regulations, and to fund the air monitoring, which will be conducted solely by the DEC.

“The PBA is sincere in our commitment to evaluating the air quality situation at the Peace Bridge and is pleased to support this monitoring initiative being undertaken by the DEC,” said PBA Chairman Sam Hoyt. “Past studies have shown the port to be well within state compliance levels for vehicle emissions and we are confident that this new work will further demonstrate that reality. Today’s announcement is also another strong statement regarding the PBA’s focus on environmental stewardship issues. Let me once again thank the local elected delegation for their advocacy on the air monitoring issue and other sustainable solutions at the Peace Bridge.”

“As the economic bond between Western New York and Southern Ontario grows stronger, the Peace Bridge will remain an important component of our sustained economic success,” said Senator Tim Kennedy. “With the new environmental monitoring and enforcement initiatives, the state can now ensure the Peace Bridge maintains the air-quality standards that Western New Yorkers expect and deserve. This will especially help improve the quality of life for children, families and senior citizens who live near this essential economic artery.”

"I am pleased that the State is making important strides toward monitoring and improving the air quality in the Peace Bridge Corridor. Today's announcement of plans to crack down on vehicles that idle too long and strict enforcement of the state's emissions regulations are evidence of Albany's commitment to cleaner air," said Senator Mark Grisanti (R-60), Chairman of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee. "Further, I hope that by studying the air quality from different vantage points around the Peace Bridge, the State will be able to take appropriate action to control the distribution of future pollutants in the air."

“The health and safety of west side residents is one of my top priorities,” said Assemblyman Sean Ryan. “Many cases of chronic respiratory illness and asthma have been documented among west side residents, and we cannot stand by without knowing the full extent of the problem. I’m very pleased that the PBA and DEC are working together to fund air monitors and put the resources into place to enforce truck idling laws at the Peace Bridge. The DEC will be conducting the air monitoring, and it’s good to see that the PBA will be contributing funding to this effort. These actions by the DEC will go a long way toward improving the health of Buffalo’s west side residents, and air monitoring in particular will help to determine the extent of the air quality problem and come up with ways to improve the air near the Peace Bridge.”

“My colleagues and I on the Buffalo Common Council asked, among other requests, for air monitoring at the Peace Bridge plaza back in December and again last month,” said Common Council Member David Rivera. “It’s good to hear that it will begin shortly. I hope consideration will be given to our other requests as well.”

For more information please contact Senator Kennedy’s Office at 716-826-2683, Senator Grisanti’s Office at 716-854-8705, Assemblyman Ryan’s Office at 716-885-9630, or Council Member Rivera’s Office at 716-851-5125.