Weekly Feature

2011-07-06 / Front Page

Clean Air Coalition places second in web video contest


The Clean Air Coalition of Western New York’s video regarding its fight for cleaner air in the Tonawandas appears to have been well received by those who voted recently in an online contest that featured clips submitted by some of Western New York’s community activist groups.

The Coalition learned on June 29 that it won second prize in the Green Renaissance of Western New York video contest.

The organization’s video was selected through a public vote held during the course of two weeks on Facebook, a social media website, and beat out 12 other Western New York environmental nonprofits that also submitted short videos about environmental issues.

A video submitted by a group that supports the Tifft Nature Preserve in South Buffalo earned first place and a $10,000 grant.

The Coalition’s video, a five-minute segment, primarily shows coverage of the group’s work that was conducted during the past few years. The group has been fighting to stop toxic air emissions from Tonawanda Coke Corp., a foundry coke manufacturing plant located on River Road in the Town of Tonawanda.

As the Coalition’s prize for the second best video, the group received a $5,000 unrestricted grant.

Erin Heaney, the Coalition’s executive director, said the group will use the funding toward planning for projects for the upcoming year.

“We’re so excited for our second place finish among groups of organizations that also have really strong messages. With the funds we’ve received, we are going to continue to find ways to pursue other projects,” she said.

Jackie James Creedon of Kenmore founded the Coalition nearly a decade ago after she was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. She believes her condition was caused by environmental factors, so she felt it was necessary to gather air samples and seek assistance from the New York State Department of Conservation to analyze those samples and expose those industries that were responsible for polluting the community.

The history of the group, and the actions it took to get the DEC and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to investigate operations at Tonawanda Coke, are discussed in the Coalition’s video clip which can be viewed on the group’s website, www.cacwny.org, or on GrowWNY’s website at www.growwny.org/contests.

James Creedon, who is no longer active with the Coalition, said she is thrilled that the group is still going strong and that it was able to secure funding by placing in the GrowWNY video contest.

“I think it’s great that they won because the group and its video are bringing awareness to the pollution problems in the area,” said Creedon. “We have people who are sick in the area because of this pollution, so the fight must continue.”

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