Environmental groups suing to stop toxic burning in Albany County
Feb 24, 2020 12:49 am
Larry Rulison reports in the Times Union that the Norlite incineration plant in Cohoes is burning the toxic chemical compounds PFOA and PFOS and environmental groups are suing. A 2019 U.S. Department of Defense contract to incinerate firefighting foam containing PFOA and PFOS that have been stored at military installations throughout the northeast are now being burned in Albany County. The Town of Cairo in Greene County has its drinking water is poisoned with PFOS, a toxic forever chemical, because of a fire-fighting training center where the foam was used near the town's water well. Environmental groups filed a suit against the Albany County plant on Feb. 20. "The Norlite kiln also has a long history of environmental violations, resulting in fines and enforcement actions by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation," the plaintiffs, including the Sierra Club, wrote in a lawsuit filed in federal court in California. "The kiln is also located next to a public housing complex, whose residents are exposed to emissions from the kiln." Judith Enck, the former regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, said local officials and residents were not warned before the plant started burning the dangerous chemicals. "Norlite has to come clean and inform the public of what they are doing and what they plan to do," Enck said. "How can this happen without a comprehensive environmental review?" Rensselaer County officials are also concerned. Legislator Todd Tesman said that, "The emissions from the Norlite Plant can be seen from Rensselaer County, and the winds blow... right towards us. We need to know that the air we are breathing is safe." Read more about this story in the Times Union.