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Residents near bridge must be top priority

W.T. “Bill” McKibben’s Viewpoints article, “Time to call a truce: Let’s resolve issues so Peace Bridge can continue to play leading role in our region’s economy,” has no real proposals to achieve the goal set in the headline. He begins by making unsubstantiated claims about the economic impacts of increased truck traffic. He has no qualifications for what he then recites: a set of exaggerated claims from a flawed 2012 State Department of Transportation report on science and health impacts.

The unsigned report was not peer-reviewed and is not, as McKibben described it, a study. The report provides no new data. Instead, it selectively cherry-picked information to support a chosen conclusion that there are no health impacts, or that health impacts will disappear in the future. Nowhere in the report is any reference to the environmental justice implications of the Peace Bridge environmental health impacts, the focus of federal consideration recently reported in The News. The report has been discredited by all involved scientists and medical professionals in the area, including Dr. Jamson Lwebuga-Mukasa, whose federally funded and peer-reviewed papers were misrepresented in the report.

McKibben is not calling for a truce, he’s calling for one part of the community to surrender.

If we are to have an honest conversation to “resolve issues” from the impact of Peace Bridge renovation and expansion of trucking through neighborhoods that bear the brunt of associated health problems, then we must propose efforts to protect the neighboring residents. There are simple steps that have been avoided by state agencies, some elected leaders and the Peace Bridge Authority. Acknowledge the reality of financial, environmental and health impacts. Consult and work with the affected community to develop a plan to protect them.

Joseph A. Gardella Jr., Ph.D.

Buffalo