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Statement by Congressman Brian Higgins in Response to OSHA Fines Following Tonawanda Coke Explosion

Jul 31, 2014
Press Release

Congressman Brian Higgins released the following statement in response to violations and fines issued to Tonawanda Coke Corp. by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA).  Today OSHA announced $161,100 in U.S. Department of Labor fines on the Western New York company.  

“These violations against Tonawanda Coke are frightening but unfortunately not surprising.  They represent a persistent pattern of reckless operations by Tonawanda Coke that threaten the health and safety of employees and local residents.  Given the severity of violations cited by OSHA, it is a wonder that more people inside the plant haven’t been hurt. Repeat violations indicate that Tonawanda Coke clearly isn’t learning from its mistakes.  It’s my hope that OSHA continues to keep a close eye on the facility to keep them accountable for their actions and as a means to force the company to be a responsible employer and neighbor.” 

Following an explosion at the Tonawanda Coke plant on January 31, Congressman Higgins wrote to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and OSHA calling for an investigation.  

A past criminal Investigation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) led to charges that the company and employees deliberately ignored environmental procedures.  Tonawanda Coke and employees were found guilty of actions leading to the illegal release benzene, a cancer causing agent, into the air.

The full report from OSHA is available at: https://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Tonawanda_Coke.pdf