A group called “Lights Out Norlite” held a press conference outside the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation office in Albany on Wednesday, where they handed over a letter calling on Commissioner Basil Seggos to deny the permits that allow Norlite to burn waste.
This is the latest in a series of actions neighbors of Norlite and environmentalists have taken to try and get the site shut down. Residents say their cars are often covered in dust, and claim there’s a chlorine-like smell in the air because of the materials being incinerated at the facility.
Although legislators have passed laws banning the burning of firefighter foam, which can contain PFAS chemicals, the environmental advocates say they need further action from the Cuomo administration.
A spokesperson for the DEC came downstairs and picked up the letter before the environmentalists could personally bring it to the commissioner’s office.
The DEC sent NEWS10 ABC the following statement Wednesday evening:
Working with this community to address concerns about Norlite’s operations is a priority for the Commissioner and DEC Region 4 as evidenced by our close scrutiny provided and enforcement actions taken to date, as well as the extensive reviews that will take place as part of permitting, and our ongoing public engagement. We continue to communicate with community leaders and concerned residents regularly.
DEC encourages active public participation during the permitting process, especially when the proposed permits involve industrial facilities located in low-income or minority communities, like those near Norlite, which have historically borne a disproportionate share of environmental pollution. The public participation meetings and public comment period for the Norlite permit renewal application have not yet begun, but DEC appreciates all community input and accepts the letter delivered today as part of our ongoing review of facility operations. DEC’s permitting process will provide additional opportunities for public input going forward. DEC’s enforcement is ongoing as we continue to hold the facility accountable to all laws and regulations and respond to the concerns of the surrounding community.NYSDEC REGION 4 REGIONAL DIRECTOR ANTHONY LUISI