<<Home Niagara Falls Reporter Archive>>

Union Head Blasts Dyster on Coal

By Craig Tretiak

Mike Lutz speaking at a recent rally to save jobs at the Somerset plant.

To hear Niagara Falls Mayor, Paul A. Dyster tell it, coal power is the biggest source of smoky, dirty pollution, belching "greenhouse gases" into the atmosphere and hurting man and nature alike.

To hear one local union official tell it, that description more accurately applies to Dyster and his "job-killing agenda."

Mike Lutz, president of IBEW Local 966—the Western New York union that represents the workforce at the coal-fired Somerset Generating Station in Barker—blasted Dyster after news of the green mayor's involvement in a Sierra Club press conference where he was joined by a radical Cornell professor whose writings have gained the praise of former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.

"Being a labor guy and a taxpayer here in Niagara County, I just can't even fathom why a political official like Paul Dyster is advocating for killing jobs and raising taxes," Lutz said. "He stood there at a press conference where they were advocating shutting down coal plants. I know he doesn't live in Somerset, but you would think with his political ambitions, he wouldn't be trying to chase away jobs in the rest of the county or chasing away our county's biggest taxpayer."

Dyster, who has made no secret of his desire to rise higher than mayor of Niagara Falls, has aligned himself with both the green movement and the anti-gun movement in recent months.

The hard-left environmentalist agenda doesn't sit well with Lutz, who notes that it's unusual territory for union leaders to find themselves needing to criticize a Democratic politician.

"Obviously, Dyster's going to need labor's support if he decides to seek a higher office," Lutz said. "And when he does come knocking on our door, we're going to find it awful tough giving him our support if he's been out there stifling union jobs."

Lutz, who points to a host of problems impacting his industry—most caused by politicians and laws passed in Albany and Washington—said the problem with Dyster was his "need to pander."

"He's down in Buffalo, trying to gain the backing of the Sierra Club. We're right here in this community, and he's chasing us away," Lutz said. "Either he's the most inept politician I've ever seen or he really, truly believes his own rhetoric."

Lutz said he's also concerned about tax revenues that currently flow to Niagara County, the town of Somerset, and the Barker Central School District, and noted that losing their largest taxpayer would have a devastating impact on the three entities. Lutz also offered some friendly advice to Dyster, who he said had once seemed like a promising politician. "His city's falling apart around him," Lutz said. "Meanwhile he's out advocating for other entities in Niagara County that provide jobs and pay taxes to be shut down. Maybe he should worry about fixing his own community before he tries to break everyone else's."



Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

JUN 11, 2013