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It Was You, Buffalo News
by Alfred T. Coppola
The Buffalo News correctly identified the Peace Bridge Authority as part of its “Leadership Fails Buffalo” editorial on June 6. However, the paper failed to name itself as the major culprit—failing to report the news and issues on all sides of the project.
Instead, the paper early on jumped on the Signature Bridge bandwagon, and failed in its job to report to our community all the options available. It failed to examine alternative locations and investigate funding for the project. As a result of their failed leadership and reporting, we have $50,000,000 worth of data and no bridge.
In this same editorial the News criticizes elected officials for listening to “a couple of people complain” and then “kill[ing] the project and head[ing] for the hills.” Who are these “couple of people”? Possibly the “couple of people” the News was referring to are the 149 students out of a 653 student population with asthma at Public School #3 on Porter Avenue, the school closest to the plaza. This number is sIgnificantly higher than the general population and does not include the 437 additional asthmatic students at six other surrounding schools.
Or maybe the “couple of people” include the hundreds of West Side residents, both for and against the expansion, who have been held hostage by the Peace Bridge Authority for the past 20 years. Pitting neighbor against neighbor, creating an unstable, destructive environment, PBA has created havoc in this vibrant community.
Or perhaps the “couple of people” the News referred to is the US Environmental Prtection Agency, which in 2007 recommended that other reasonable alternatives having fewer environmental impacts than the preferred site the PBA pushed for should be analyzed. The EPA stated that expansion of the present location of the Peace Bridge would negatively impact the air quality, the water quality, and the wildlife and aquatic resources.
So while the EPA was recommending that alternative sites be explored, while West Side residents had their lives torn apart, and while student asthma rates were projected to rise drastically, the News must have been busy trying to fifgure out what to do with $50,000,000 worth of data.
Alfred T. Coppola, Buffalo
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