Plastics Company Excludes PVC from Lockport Town Proposal
Plastics Company Excludes PVC from Lockport Town Proposal

Plastics Company Excludes PVC from Lockport Town Proposal

  • 15-Sep-2023 1:38 PM
  • Journalist: Stella Fernandes

A plastics manufacturing company, SRI CV Plastics Inc., which had previously sought approval to establish a factory in the Lockport Industrial Park, has decided to eliminate the manufacturing of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) pipes from its proposed operations.

This decision came about after SRI CV Plastics Inc.'s application for tax incentives, aimed at facilitating the construction of a facility designed for the production of single-use food containers, faced a temporary hold in July. The hold was prompted by allegations that the company had distributed a summary of a study advocating for the safety of PVC manufacturing, which was later revealed to be fabricated and generated by artificial intelligence (AI).

Terry Burton, an attorney representing SRI CV Plastics, conveyed to the Town of Lockport Industrial Development Agency board that the company has opted to discontinue PVC pipe manufacturing due to environmental concerns associated with the use of polyvinyl chloride in the manufacturing process. Instead, the company intends to focus solely on producing "plastic food containers, utensils, and similar products made from recyclable polypropylene and polystyrene" at the proposed facility.

The decision to drop PVC manufacturing came in the wake of mounting concerns expressed by residents and environmental organizations regarding the environmental impact of plastic manufacturing. Organizations such as Beyond Plastics and the Clean Air Coalition of Western New York have voiced opposition to SRI CV Plastics Inc.'s application for incentives, even though the company has abandoned plans to produce PVCs.

Addressing the AI-generated study summary that had raised concerns, Burton clarified that SRI CV Plastics had mistakenly used Chat GPT as an English translation tool and a search engine. He explained, "Where they went afoul was when they use Chat GPT as a search engine like Google or Bing... but Chat GPT made it up. The people in India were not aware of that."

Burton further conveyed that Varum Velumani, the operations manager for SRI CV Plastics, had been "embarrassed" by the incident, emphasizing that there was no deliberate attempt to mislead the board or the community with the erroneous summary.

Following a one-month hold on the application to conduct an investigation, Tom Sy, administrative director of the town IDA, noted that the board's questions had been addressed with the substantial information provided by Burton and SRI CV Plastics following the AI-generated summary.

The board is set to resume discussions on the application at its next monthly meeting. According to Tom Sy, SRI CV Plastics is seeking $312,000 in subsidies from the Town of Lockport Industrial Development Agency, with the request being tied to a 15-year industrial Payment In Lieu Of Taxes (PILOT) agreement, including a sales tax exemption for construction-related purchases and mortgage tax abatement. These incentives would support the company's plan to invest $2.34 million in constructing a 14,000-square-foot manufacturing facility and potentially employ 25 individuals, with 20 in full-time positions.

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