A Vermont-based nonprofit is calling on local officials in Lockport, N.Y., to reject a proposed plastics factory.
SRI CV Plastics Inc. has proposed building a 13,870-square-foot factory on land that it would purchase from the Lockport Industrial Development Agency.
The plant would initially make single-use plastic food packaging, and a second phase would make PVC pipe for agricultural use, according to Thomas Sy, coordinator of economic development for the Town of Lockport, which is near Buffalo.
Beyond Plastics, a Bennington, Vt.-based group headed by Judith Enck, a former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regional administrator, sent a letter to the development agency urging members to reject public subsidies for the project.
Beyond Plastics cited the recent train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, as one reason it opposes the Lockport project.
"Plastics facilities bring risks to the communities where they are sited," Enck said. "The train disaster in East Palestine, Ohio, showed us how the use of PVC plastic — which is made from toxic vinyl chloride — can rock the lives of entire communities with dangerous pollution."
In the Feb. 3 accident, officials were afraid that vinyl chloride monomer being transported on the train was in danger of explosion, so they burned off almost 116,000 gallons of the material, forcing residents living within a mile of the site to be evacuated for several days.
SRI CV Plastics is seeking $600,000 in state and local assistance for the project. According to the company's application for assistance, the project will not move forward without the local funding.
"In the absence of such assistance, the applicant will seek the assistance it needs from a municipality elsewhere in the United States," according to the application.
Local reports identify SRI CV Plastics as an Indian company. According to the application, it is owned by Singapore-based Veva Holdings Pvt. Ltd., and the proposed plant would be the company's first U.S. facility.
The company estimates the cost of the project at $2.34 million, and said it would create 20 full-time jobs.
The Lockport IDA board has a public hearing on the project scheduled for July 13. In a statement, the board said: "As with all projects, we have scheduled a public hearing before our board and we are looking forward as always to comments pro and con. Our board will consider any comments and further information from the applicant as with all decisions."
The letter from Beyond Plastics was co-signed by leaders of 62 organizations. The letter said both single-use packaging and PVC pipe "cause environmental harm, and New York needs to be working to eliminate them, not subsidize them."