Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) is calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to allow for $440,000 in fines to be paid by DuPont to stay in Western New York.

Under a Consent Decree agreed to between the United States Department of Justice and DuPont on August 7, 2013 the company will pay the federal government a civil penalty of $440,000 in response to a suit alleging violations to the Clean Air Act and the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act in connection to its facility located in Tonawanda, New York.

In a letter to the U.S. Attorney General, Higgins argues that the fines would have a much greater impact if they were to stay in the community rather than be returned to the federal treasury. “I write today to advocate that this sum be instead allocated to environmental remediation efforts in the immediate vicinity of the plant, rather than being sent to the Treasury, where its impact will be diluted… While some gains have been made in remediating the environmental damage caused by industrialization in the Town of Tonawanda and the nearby communities, much important work remains to be done.  This settlement could be an important resource in advancing that effort.”

Higgins, who is also fighting to keep Tonawanda Coke fines in the region, also points out there is precedent in similar cases where these types of payments were allowed to remain in the local community for environmental remediation.

The Congressman is encouraging others in the community to weigh in during the current 30-day public comment period.  Comments can be sent via email to: [email protected].