Norlite Timeline

Norlite's Permits Expired for Two Years

Since December 31st, 2021, Norlite has been operating with expired permits under administrative extension by the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation

January 1st, 2023

Lights Out Norlite, GELF Sue to Intervene in State Lawsuit Against Norlite

Lights Out Norlite (LON), the local group which has been working to shut down the Norlite facility in Cohoes, today filed papers in State Supreme Court in Albany to intervene in the lawsuit New York State, led by the State Attorney General (AG), has filed against the company. 

In the complaint, the plaintiff brings tort claims against Norlite, whose permits to operate expired two years ago, for its wrongful operation of the Facility and a cross claim against DEC for a declaratory judgment that allowing the Facility to continue to operate violates Plaintiffs’ right to clean air and a healthful environment.

See link to Residence Complaint Here

See Link to Memo of Support Here


Read GELF Statement hereDecember 20th, 2022

Norlite Seeks to Dismiss AG Lawsuit

Norlite filed a motion to dismiss the AG lawsuit.

Norlite lawyers claim that the state Department of Environmental Conservation and attorney general’s office referencing California regulations in part of lawsuit their should have no standing in New York.

Read the Albany Times Union article here

Access Norlite's petition to dismiss AG Lawsuit hereNovember 10th, 2022

NYS Attorney General Sues Norlite

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and state Attorney General Letitia James have sued a Cohoes plant over air pollution. The lawsuit against Norlite was filed in Albany County State Supreme Court.

Access the lawsuit filing hereOctober 12th, 2022

As Norlite submits renewal application to the state, 70 families forced to move over hazardous air pollution.

In a letter to Norlite executive, Cohoes Mayor William Keeler made it clear: "the ONLY reason I have been advocating for the relocation of 70 families from their homes in Saratoga Sites is because of Norlite's uncontrolled fugitive dust, and chronic violations of regulations governing the company's incineration of hazardous waste adjacent to this much needed housing." (original emphasis)

Norlite is a hazardous waste incinerator and a serial violator of environmental law. The facility just submitted its application to renew hazardous waste and Title V air toxics permits.

Lights Out Norlite applauds Mayor Keeler's letter. While moving the residents of Saratoga Sites away from Norlite's toxic pollution will provide much needed relief, there are still 50,000 people in Cohoes and Troy immediately downwind of this plant.

It's time for the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation to deny Norlite's permits!

Read Mayor Keelers Letter >>>March 3rd, 2022

Cohoes Housing Authority Votes to Sell Saratoga Sites

70 families living next to Norlite will see relief from toxic air emissions if the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development accepts the Cohoes Housing Authority's application to relocate them.

The Housing Authority voted to sell the property to the City of Cohoes, even though Norlite was the higher bidder.


Watch the News ClipFebruary 28th, 2022

NYS DEC Issues Community Update Regarding Norlite Fugitive Dust

NYS DEC address comprehensive off-site study, fugitive dust enforcement and Norlite's permit renewal.


Read the DEC update hereFebruary 28th, 2022

NYS Dept of Environmental Conservation order Norlite to cease and desist off-site dust impact

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced that DEC is ordering the Norlite facility in the city of Cohoes to immediately cease and desist off-site dust impacts as documented in the agency's new report released today. Based on the findings of a comprehensive analysis of fugitive dust monitoring that directly links dust impacting neighboring properties to Norlite's operations,

DEC is requiring new corrective actions to protect area air quality. This week, DEC issued a Notice of Violation that requires the facility to immediately cease and desist actions resulting in dust leaving the property, in addition to other facility operation improvements and enhancements to address these serious and preventable violations. (from DEC Press Release)

Read the article from the Troy Record here

Read the DEC Press Release hereJanuary 21st, 2022

Assemblymember McDonald, Lights Out Norlite Urge Action on Toxic Fly Ash

For decades, Norlite has mixed toxic fly ash from its pollution controls into a construction product called block mix. Norlite had been allowed to do this under an exemption to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act called the Bevill Amendment.

Effective April 19, 2020, NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation repealed Norlite's exemption under the Bevill Amendment, meaning the company can no longer mix toxic ash into its products. However, the Acting DEC Regional Director Anthony Luisi wrote in a letter on June 4th, 2021 that DEC will not enforce this change until Norlite's permits are renewed. Norlite's permits expired more than a year ago.

In the meantime, Norlite continues to store toxic ash in open air piles in Cohoes. The ash contains some of the most dangerous pollutants from burning hazardous waste.

Lights Out Norlite held a press conference at the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation where they were joined by NYS Assemblymember John McDonald.


Read the Press ReleaseJanuary 21st, 2022

Norlite's Permits Expired for One Year

Since December 31st, 2021, Norlite has been operating with expired permits under administrative extension by the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation

January 1st, 2022

122 Organizations Call on NY DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos to Reject Norlite Incinerator Pollution Permits

Lights Out Norlite delivered a letter to NYS Dept. of Environmental conservation sigend by 122 community organizations, including the League of Women Voters of NYS, the NYS Council of Churches, NAACP Troy, Riverkeeper, Food & Water Watch, Troy Central Little League, TAP, and Soul Fire Farm.

Read the letter and coverage from WNYT.

Read the press releaseMarch 19th, 2021

Residents Announce Class Action Lawsuit

On March 19th 2021, local residents announced a lawsuit against Norlite and parent company Tradebe over hazardous silica dust that contains harmful glass particles known to cause silicosis and other aliments. Attorney Phillip Oswald, Dr. David Bond of Bennington College, and community members spoke to media from the playground at Saratoga Sites.


Read the Times Union articleMarch 19th, 2021

Researchers and Community Members Respond to DEC Soil and Water Study

After analyzing the NYS DEC's 449-page report on the results of soil and water sampling around Norlite, researchers and community leaders wrote a letter to DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos strongly disagreeing with the study's conclusions. The DEC study concluded "no clear link to Norlite's operations, no indication of human health risk" as a result of Norlite burning millions of pounds of PFAS-containing AFFF fire fighting foam.

Read the letter to DEC Commissioner Basil SeggosMarch 17th, 2021

NYS DEC Release Soil and Water Survey Results

The 449-page report was delivered to the community and officials 5 months after the study was announced. The press release from the DEC reads, "DEC's Comprehensive Study of PFAS and Metals Finds No Clear Link to Norlite's Operations, No Indication of Human Health Risk."

Read the DEC Report HereMarch 9th, 2021

Independent Tests Show Razor-Sharp Glass in Fugitive Dust from Norlite

Dr. Dave Walker, PhD Geologist retired from Columbia University, examined dust samples taken from Saratoga Sites and the attic of Ed Sokol, who lives across the street. The samples resembled volcanic glass and matched a sample of Norlite aggregate. Volcanic glass is known to cause silicosis, a progressive and deadly lung disease. Norlite's Material Safety Data Sheet shows that Norlite's aggregate product can cause serious respiratory disease.


Read the letter from Dr. Dave WalkerJanuary 27th, 2021

Fire at Norlite

A plume of black smoke could be seen from 787 after a fire broke out at the Norlite hazardous waste incinerator in Cohoes on Monday. Hours after the fire had been contained, a heavy, noxious chemical smell, described as something like a dry-erase marker or paint, lingered in the air at Saratoga Sites. This is the second fire at Norlite in under a year, since another fire occurred in February of 2020.


“It’s makin me sick, it stinks. That’s toxic… they shouldn’t be there or we shouldn’t be here.”January 18th, 2021

Norlite's state permits officially expired

Norlite's state permits officially expired, but they are allowed to continue burning via "Administrative Extension" through the State Administrative Procedure Act.

December 31st, 2020

Cohoes City Council votes unanimously to impose a tax on Norlite's income from hazardous waste

The measure, proposed by Mayor Bill Keeler, imposes a 4% tax on Norlite's receipts for accepting hazardous waste. It is not yet clear what that amount will be. The first tax payment will be made in March of 2020. Community members at the meeting called for a local law to ban the burning of hazardous waste in Cohoes.

Read MoreDecember 31st, 2020

Cohoes Mayor Bill Keeler proposes a tax on Norlite incinerator’s hazardous waste revenue

Cohoes Mayor Bill Keeler proposes a Local Law to tax the income received by Norlite LLC for its treatment and disposal of hazardous waste. Norlite makes annual property, water, and sewer tax payments to the City of Cohoes. In addition, beginning in 2012, Norlite had paid a monthly voluntary contribution totaling $100,000 annually to the City of Cohoes. Norlite stopped making those payments in March 2020, having paid a total of $16,667 in 2020. Mayor Keeler said that the proposed tax wouldn't affect his decision on the potential for a local law to ban the burning of hazardous waste in Cohoes.

Hear HMM's interview with Mayor Keeler on the proposed taxDecember 31st, 2020

DEC releases Norlite's Enforcement History since 1990

This document details 30 years DEC's enforcement actions against Norlite starting June 21, 1990. The actions total $826,000, $727,000 in penalties and $99,000 in "environmental benefit projects."

Read about why Norlite incurred decades' worth of penalties.November 24th, 2020

Cuomo administration working behind the scenes to gut the Norlite Bill

The NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation is working to gut the McDonald-Breslin bill by making it a statewide moratorium. To the normal person that might sound great. But it actually means it gives the DEC the authority to regulate the toxin which is something that we cannot trust. 

Residents of Cohoes learned in February that a hazardous waste incinerator owned by Norlite LLC, had been burning shipments of toxic firefighting foam. In response to public concern about the health risks, a bill banning the incineration of the foam in Cohoes passed the Senate and Assembly unanimously in June. (DEC's) on-site monitor said that he was aware that the foam was being burned in 2018. But DEC said it was not aware the foam was being burned until “late 2019.”

Read moreOctober, 2020

Joe Ritchie, E.D, of Saratoga Sites Against Norlite Emissions (SSANE) warns NY DEC is gutting the Norlite Bill

"The state DEC wants to gut the McDonald-Breslin bill by making it a statewide moratorium. To the normal person that might sound great. But it actually means it gives the DEC the authority to regulate the toxin which is something that we cannot trust."

Read moreOctober, 2020

Norlite fails dioxin test

Covered by The Albany Times Union in "Norlite failed dioxin test"

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