Read the full article by Dave Lucas (WAMC)
“Already under intense scrutiny from environmental advocates and local elected officials, the Norlite plant in Cohoes is facing new clean air violations from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. But environmentalists are also taking aim at the DEC.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation issued six new air quality violations Wednesday against Norlite after inspections February 3rd and 8th revealed violations of air quality requirements and controls to prevent dust from leaving the site. The DEC says it took corrective action.
Almost a year ago, it emerged the plant was burning PFAS-laden firefighting foam for the U.S. Defense Department. In November, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation to ban such burning at the plant, which is located near the Saratoga Sites public housing project in the Albany County city.
Residents and advocates have released a letter to the New York Inspector General calling for an investigation into DEC’s actions that led to Norlite’s burning PFAS. The letter cites April 2019 emails between DEC staff and the parent company of Norlite, Tradebe, wherein DEC staff states ‘it would be great to show that incineration is a viable option’ for PFAS chemicals.
Former EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck is also a WAMC contributor:
‘The two most important people that are entrusted with protecting public health at this facility are the DEC on-site monitor and the DEC Regional Director. Those were the two people who knew as early as March 2019, that this incineration of PFAS chemicals was happening. Yet the DEC as an agency has consistently said to the public, that they did not know that Norlite was burning this until late 2019. And as soon as they found out they directed Norlite to stop. This timeline is not true.’
According to a statement issued by Cohoes Mayor Bill Keeler, ‘there is a new DEC on-site monitor at Norlite and there is a new Region 4 Director’ whom Keeler says the city is in contact with ‘almost daily…'”