70 groups urge AG to support intervention by Lights Our Norlite in court case

February 2, 2022
Attorney General Letitia James
NYS Capitol – 2nd floor
Albany, NY  12224-0341
Dear Attorney General James:

We are writing to urge you to support the motion by Lights Out Norlite (LON) to intervene in the public nuisance lawsuit (State of NY vs. Norlite, LLC) that the AG and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) filed in October 2022 against the Norlite Hazardous Waste Incinerator and Aggregate Facility in Cohoes. N.Y.

This is a critical environmental justice matter and we urge you to allow the impacted residents to be fully heard and represented in this proceeding.

LON is being represented by the Environmental Litigation Clinic at PACE Law School. Pace is routinely ranked number one in the country for Environmental Law by the U.S. News and World Report, and has a well-deserved reputation for its expertise. Their participation would be helpful both to your office and to the local residents.

In its complaint, LON 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 under the newly amended state constitution to clean air and a healthful environment.

Lights Out Norlite is a grassroots environmental group which is working to address the ongoing and serious pollution threats posed by the Norlite facility. This area of Cohoes has been designated an environmental justice area by the state of New York. It is so bad that the City of Cohoes recently received permission from the federal Housing and Urban Development to purchase and demolish the adjacent public house apartment complex and relocate the residents. To our knowledge, this is the first time HUD has ever approved such drastic action.

Residents have been complaining about the numerous public health and environmental problems with this facility for decades. Many have been forced to leave their homes. Residents have witnessed DEC for over 30 years negotiate one consent order after another that has allowed Norlite to continue to harm their quality of life. At the same time, DEC has frequently publicly dismissed and downplayed the complaints made by residents and environmental groups, including studies conducted by scientists.

We urge you as Attorney General to recognize the right of the residents to be directly involved in any negotiated settlement of this case, which was filed after the residents contacted your office to investigate the matter.
PAUSE / 350 Albany (People of Albany United for Safe Energy)
Albany County Green Party
All Our Energy,  Point Lookout
Big Mind Learning, LLC, Latham
Bronx Climate Justice North, Bronx
Capital Region Interfaith Creation Care Coalition, Albany
Church Women United in New York State, Rochester
Citizen Action of New York, Albany
Clean Air Action Network of Glens Falls 
Clean Air Coalition of Greater Ravena Coeymans         
Clean+Healthy, Albany
Coalition for Outreach, Policy & Education, Ithaca
Community Advocates for a Sustainable Environment, Schodack
Earthkeeper Health Resources, North Salem
Energy Justice Law and Policy Center, New Rochelle
Energy Justice Network, Philadelphia PA
Food & Water Watch, Brooklyn
Foodscraps360.com, LLC, Albany
Grassroots Environmental Education, Port Washington
Green Party of Nassau County, Long Beach
Green Party of New York State     
Green Party of Onondaga County, Syracuse
hEarth: A Center for Eco-Education & Sustainable Communities, Albany
League of Women Voters of New York State
Long Island Progressive Coalition, Massapequa
Lovin’ Mama Farm, Amsterdam
Media Alliance, Troy
Nassau Hiking & Outdoor Club, Elmont
New York Lawyers for the Public Interest. New York
North American Climate, Conservation and Environment, Roosevelt
North Bronx Racial Justice, Bronx
NYPAN Greene County
NYPAN Environmental Committee
NYPIRG, Albany
Peckham Action Group, Piermont
Progressive Schenectady   
Putnam Progressives
Queens Climate Project
Rising Earth Natural Building LLC, Troy
Rivers & Mountains GreenFaith, Chatham
Save the Pine Bush, Albany
Seneca Lake Guardian, Watkins Glen
Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter         
Sierra Club Hudson Mohawk Group. Albany
Skidmore College Environmental Action Club, Saratoga Springs
Sisters of St. Dominic of Blauvelt
Solidarity Committee–Capital District   
South Asian Fund For Education Scholarship and Training Inc, NYC
South Shore Audubon Society, Freeport  
Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion, Rye
The Climate Reality Project: Capital Region
The Community Rising Project, Troy
Third Act Lawyers, New York City
Third Act NYC, New York City
Thomas Berry Forum for Ecological Dialogue at Iona University
Tishman Environment and Design Center, NYC
Town of Waterford Democractic Committee, Waterford
Tray Farms, Troy
Troy DSA
Underground Alchemy, Albany
United Neighbors Concerned About GE Dewey Loeffel Landfill, Castleton
United University Professions, Latham
UU Congregation of Binghamton, Green Sanctuary
Western New York Drilling Defense, Buffalo
Women Against War, Albany
Work on Waste, USA (AEHSP), Exeter NH
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