State judge sides with neighborhood versus demolition contractor

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Residents in South Buffalo’s Seneca Babcock neighborhood are celebrating a legal victory against a company they have been battling for years over environmental issues. A state judge granted an injunction against Battaglia Demolition, Inc. shutting down the Seneca Street facility, as requested by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in a 2016 lawsuit.
Times have been desperate for the families living on Peabody Street, adjacent to the Battaglia companies, which run a trucking company and operate a concrete crushing machine. Residents have been engaged in a tug-of-war with Battaglia Demolition for more than 10 years, accusing the company of kicking up dust, debris, and odors which homeowner Diane Lemanski believes pose a public health hazard.
“It is on our houses, it is in our houses, we drag it in on our shoes. Then your grandchildren come over and they play on your rugs–you know what I mean? It has been horrible. You can’t open your windows.”

After two years of deliberations, New York Supreme Court Justice Deborah Chimes ruled in the Attorney General’s favor, Monday, and Schneiderman said Seneca Babcock residents will not have to breathe harmful dust and debris any longer. “As we made clear in Court, companies have a fundamental responsibility to comply with state law — and my office won’t hesitate to act to keep New York communities clean, safe, and healthy.”
Brian Borncamp, a spokesman for the Clean Air Coalition of Western New York, explained Battaglia Justice Chimes ruling requires Battaglia to obtain the appropriate permits from the State Department of Environmental Conservation, and holds owner Peter Battaglia, Jr. personally liable for damages. “He is going to be required to get a new Part 360 Solid Waste Permit, a State Facility Air Permit, and until he acquires those permits, his facility will be shut down through a court injunction.”
Justice Chimes found that Battaglia had actually been operating with one of the state permits until 2013, but failed to get the permit renewed, and operated the concrete crusher without a permit.
Diane Lemanski said she is looking forward to the peace and quiet this summer, “I can sit on my porch this summer and hopefully breathe in clean air, and no diesel fumes.”
News 4 reached out to owner Peter Battaglia and his attorney following the Supreme Court decision, but requests for comment were not answered.

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