Read the full press release (New York State)
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation (S.7880-B/A.9952-B) banning the incineration of Aqueous Film Forming Foam containing perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, the emerging contaminants known as PFAS, in certain cities. Under the new law, incineration of this foam is prohibited in cities designated as Environmental Justice areas by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation where the population is between 16,000 and 17,000 residents. The law goes into effect immediately and bolsters the Department’s ongoing response to concerns raised by residents in the City of Cohoes residents to ensure the environment and community are protected after foam containing PFAS was disposed at the Norlite facility.
“While the federal government has failed to regulate these compounds or protect the health of our communities, New York continues to respond to the threats posed by emerging contaminants like PFAS in our environment with sustained science-based actions,” Governor Cuomo said. “While this measure will ban incineration of firefighting foam containing these compounds in cities like Cohoes, our work is not over. We remain fully committed to this effort and will continue to advance comprehensive, statewide measures which protect all New Yorkers and our environment from emerging contaminants.”
Senator Neil Breslin said, “This law is the result of input from citizens of Cohoes, environmental advocates, the Department of Environmental Conservation and Governor Cuomo. Working together, we have stopped the emission of dangerous chemicals from the burning of firefighting foam in Cohoes.”
Assembly Member John McDonald said, “I am very pleased to see that the Governor has signed into law the legislation sponsored by myself and Senator Neil Breslin that will prohibit the incineration of firefighting foam containing per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). I appreciate the Governor’s attention to this legislation and the support of the community and advocates who were integral to ensuring the passage into law.”
The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) directed Norlite to immediately cease disposal of Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) in 2019, and launched a series of actions and investigations to ensure the surrounding community was not at risk. While this legislation applies to this specific community, DEC and the Department of Health (DOH) continue to advance statewide efforts to lead the nation in response to PFAS contamination. This includes further study of safe and proper disposal methods and ongoing, rigorous oversight of the Norlite facility’s operations.