Take a deep breath: Albany County passes the Clean Air Act

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — During Thursday’s coronavirus briefing, Albany County Executive Dan McCoy announced the signing of “Local Law B,” which enacts the Albany County Clean Air Act.

“Our top priority as elected officials should always be protecting the health, safety, and welfare of Albany County residents, and part of that is ensuring they have clean air to breathe,” said County Executive McCoy. “We know that medical conditions like COPD, lung cancer, and asthma put people at even greater risk of serious illness from the coronavirus, and regions with worse air quality, including minority communities, are more likely to be affected by those conditions.”

Local Law B protects air quality in the county by banning industrial facilities from burning garbage, hazardous materials, automobiles, and electronic waste, among other items. Penalties for violating the Clean Air Act include fines up to $2,000 and imprisonment of up to 10 days for a first offense. A second offense is a misdemeanor carrying a $5,000 or up to 30 days in jail.

The Albany County Legislature passed the law with bipartisan support on August 10. At least in part, the legislation intends to help address the processing of potentially hazardous materials like firefighting foam—burned at the Norlite Facility in Cohoes—and planned tire-burning at Lafarge Cement Plant in Coeymans.

Former EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck characterized Albany’s Clean Air Act as the most protective air pollution law ever adopted by a county in New York.

Now signed, the signed legislation goes into effect once filed with the Secretary of the State.

The State Legislature unanimously passed Senate Bill 7880 and Assembly Bill 9952 on June 9, which prohibits burning toxic firefighting foam at Norlite. However, the governor has not exercised his executive authority to sign the bill into law.

Take a look at the legislation:

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