LOCKPORT, N.Y. — More than 60 organizations signed onto a letter this week urging the Lockport Industrial Development Agency not to give SRI CV Plastics $500,000 in tax abatements.
Among them are the Clean Air Coalition of Western New York, the New York Public Interest Research Group and Beyond Plastic, a nationwide organization with the goal of ending plastic pollution.
"We should be working to phase out single-use packaging, not create more of it because it is turning our oceans into landfills," National Organizing Director Alexis Goldsmith said. "It is harming wildlife. It is speeding climate change."
In its application the company said it plans to produce PVC pipes and plastic food packaging products. However, Goldsmith said it's not just the final products these groups are worried about, but also the potential health and environmental hazards associated with working with vinyl chloride – a known carcinogen.
"It's associated with liver cancer, lymphoma, leukemia, brain cancer, diabetes, neurological problems, reproductive and birth defects," she said. "I mean the list is extensive."
The letter also refers to numerous disasters connected to PVC and vinyl chloride, including this year's train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, where it was burned either during the accident or after, leading to the town's evacuation.
"PVC manufacturing is notorious for disasters because plastics are made from petro chemicals," Goldsmith said. "They are extremely flammable."
The company cites lower labor and workers comp costs and less regulation as the reasons it prefers the town of Lockport over other places. It projects it will create 20 full-time jobs and 5 part-time jobs.
"I recognize that we need good-paying jobs, but we also have to consider what these workers are going to be exposed to in the occupational setting," Goldsmith said.
The IDA is having a public hearing at 8 a.m. Thursday, July 13, at 6560 Dysinger Road in the town of Lockport.
"I think that the community should be well-informed about what type of facility is being proposed here. The impacts that it's going to have on their health and well-being, on their property values, on tourism," she said.
The company said it will actively pursue incentives in other municipalities and states if Lockport will not provide them.