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Residents react to Covanta project

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Buffalo: Residents react to Covanta project
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A New Jersey-based waste to energy company's has applied for tax breaks for a multimillion dollar project in Niagara Falls. But, it's being met with opposition by residents as county officials prepare to vote on the plan this week. YNN's Meg Rossman has more on resident's concerns and how officials at Covanta Niagara are responding.

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — "The infrastructure changes are an investment we're making that will improve operations," Covanta Corporate Communications Manager James Regan said.

Though several residents questioned whether so-called improvements at the Covanta Niagara plant on Buffalo Avenue will have as positive an impact on the community.

At a public hearing Friday over work at the plant, all but one resident opposed the plan with others questioning whether local labor would be used in construction at the plant or if the amount of waste brought into the facility would increase.

The energy from waste facility is asking the county's industrial development agency for a 15-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes for the $30 million project.

"That includes a number of projects,” Regan said. “A new steam pipeline to the new Greenpac facility and that includes natural gas for our boiler and a new rail transfer station."

Currently, the plant processes close to 3,000 tons of waste per day from across the state and Canada and converts it to steam to power nearby plants. Despite public concern, Regan said that number will not increase.

"The Niagara facility is not increasing its waste processing capacity at all and we will not be accepting additional volumes of waste."

Though it will increase the number of those employed adding an additional 23 jobs and 160 construction jobs, whether those are local jobs remains to be seen, though language in the county's pilot applications recently changed to encourage the hiring of local labor.

No word on when construction would start. The NCIDA is set to vote on the pilot Wednesday morning.

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