City of Tonawanda, NY -- The future of the NRG Huntley Plant in the Town of Tonawanda is up in the air following a bleak financial report out earlier this year.
The Clean Air Coalition organized a series of four meetings for community stakeholders to come up with ideas of how to handle potential scenarios related to the coal plant. This includes what should happen to the site if the plant eventually closes. The plant is losing an average of a million dollars a year.
Thursday night, at the final meeting in the City of Tonawanda, the mayor of that city told us about his main concern involving the plant.
"From our standpoint as a city, what we really care about is the long-term environmental impact of Huntley either staying open or closing. City of Tonawanda being downwind directly from there, we have concerns about it," said Mayor Rick Davis.
Davis is less concerned about the financial impact because he says his city does not benefit from tax revenue from the Town of Tonawanda-based company. He is also unsure of whether any of its employees live in his city.
One man who has lived near the plant for more than ten years says he is worried about his health.
"One thing that happens with the Town of Tonawanda is they get the money from the pollution, and we get the bad air. I mean, we don't get all of these bonuses or whatever, payments. For instance, sometimes I sit in my backyard and the smell comes rolling in. And it's like should I be sitting out here? Why am I sitting here? Is it safe?" says Ronald Malec.
The Clean Air Coalition says people are also concerned about job losses if the plant eventually closes. It employs around 70 people.