Lights Out Norlite

Norlite is a toxic waste incinerator located in Cohoes, NY. For more than fifty years Norlite has had a negative impact on the New York Capital Region and beyond. Saratoga Sites, home to 70 families, is just 400 yards from Norlite’s stacks.

Norlite has been fined repeatedly for violating environmental regulations. Nearby residents complain of odor, dust, and air pollution-related illnesses, while the incinerator continues to burn hazardous materials and spew toxins throughout the surrounding area. Clouds of toxic silica dust blow from Norlite’s massive aggregate piles into the surrounding neighborhood.

Lights Out Norlite is an activist organization created to raise awareness about Norlite and the dangers associated with it. We have been working tirelessly to call attention to permit violations at the plant and the effect it is having on the community.

We are calling on the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation to deny Norlite’s Title V Air Toxics and Hazardous Waste permits. Norlite’s permits expired on December 31, 2021.

TAKE ACTION

GROUP SIGN ON LETTER TO DEC COMMISSIONER BASIL SEGGOS

NGOs, BUSINESSES, AND GROUPS, SIGN ON BY JULY 27TH 

SIGN THE PETITION

TO DENY NORLITE AGGREGATE LLC’S TITLE V AIR PERMIT AND PART 373 HAZARDOUS WASTE PERMITS AND STOP THE BURNING OF HAZARDOUS WASTE IN COHOES

Independent tests show that dust from Norlite contains razor sharp glass and silica and is an immediate threat to residents. The dust samples were gathered from a nearby attic and car windshield. Norlite’s own Material Safety Data Sheets show that the dust can cause silicosis, a progressive, incurable, and deadly lung disease. 

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In 2020, the EPA settled with Norlite for years’ worth of permit and Clean Air Act violations, affecting multiple aspects of their operations and resulting in unknown quantities of emissions of dioxans, furans, semi-volatile metals, low-volatility metals, hydrogen chloride and chlorine gas, particulate matter, mercury, chromium, arsenic, and beryllium. These are serious violations in addition to Norlite’s burning 2.4 million pounds of PFAS-laden AFFF in secret for 2 years.

Lights Out Norlite and our sister organization, Saratoga Sites Against Norlite Emissions, firmly maintains that this incinerator is unenforceable, and will continue to spew toxins in our community, in violation of its permits, as it has done for more than three decades.

We insist that the DEC must deny Norlite’s Title V permit renewal, which expired on December 31st, 2020. Norlite continues to operate with expired permits.

The Norlite Incinerator in Cohoes has been burning toxic waste in a densely populated area for decades. In this “Norlite Town Hall meeting IV: Hazardous Waste School” on December 16th, 2020, panelists included longtime hazardous waste regulator Dr. Neil Carman, former Clean Air Act administrator Bruce Buckheit, Earthjustice attorney Jim Pew, and Jane Williams from the National Sierra Club Clean Air Team.

The moderator was Hudson Mohawk Magazine correspondent Alexis Goldsmith.

Cohoes Mayor William T. Keeler, longtime Saratoga Sites apartment resident Joe Ritchie, Dr. David Carpenter of the Albany School of Public Health, Dr. David Bond from Bennington College and former EPA Region 2 administrator Judith Enck spoke and answered questions about Norlite at an online panel on June 22, 2020 produced by The Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy NY.

The moderator was Hudson Mohawk Magazine correspondent Corinne Carey.

Jane Williams from the National Sierra Club Clean Air Team; Sean Mahar, chief of staff for NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos; and Joe Ritchie, longtime Cohoes resident in the Saratoga Sites apartment complex spoke and answered questions about Norlite at an online panel on July 23, 2020 produced by The Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy NY.

The moderator was Hudson Mohawk Magazine correspondent Corinne Carey.

Norlite Timeline

Norlite has been polluting since 1956, and has been cited multiple times over the last few decades for violating the terms of its permits. Learn about the history.  

View the Timeline

Media Coverage of Norlite

ATTORNEY PHILLIP OSWALD INTERVIEWED ON NORLITE NEIGHBORS LAWSUIT

HMM Correspondent Ana Cowie speaks with Phillip Oswald, the lawyer who filed the intent to sue against Norlite on behalf of Saratoga Sites residents. In this interview he discusses the lawsuit, what the legal proceedings look like, what the desired outcome is for his clients, and how people can get involved. July 6, 2020.

Listen

JANE WILLIAMS INTERVIEWED ON SIERRA CLUB NORLITE LAWSUIT

HMM Correspondent Alexis Goldsmith speaks with Jane Williams of Sierra Club, a key player in the lawsuit that has been filed against the US Department of Defense for illegally burning materials highly toxic, forever-chemical PFAS in incinerators across eight different states. February 20, 2020.

Listen

INTERVIEW WITH ALBANY TIMES UNION REPORTER RICK KARLIN ON NORLITE COVERAGE

HMM Correspondent Alexis Goldsmith interviews Albany Times Union reporter Rick Karlin, who broke the story about the tanker trucks filled with fire fighting foam that were scheduled to head to Cohoes despite the burn moratorium. May 20, 2020.

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INTERVIEW WITH SARATOGA SITES RESIDENT JOSEPH RITCHIE

HMM Correspondent Ana Cowie interviews Joe Ritchie, a lifelong resident of Saratoga Sites who lives next to the Norlite toxic waste incinerator. He talks about the effects he has seen on his community from the burning chemicals and about the value of getting involved in community struggles. June 18, 2020.

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MIKE EWALL OF ENERGY JUSTICE NETWORK INTERVIEWED ON NORLITE TOXINS

HMM Correspondent Mark Dunlea interviews Mike Ewall of the Energy Justice Network about the EPA database on what Norlite is burning. June 3, 2020.

Listen

NYS ASSEMBLYMAN JOHN MCDONALD INTERVIEWED ON NORLITE

HMM Correspondent Dave Publow speaks with NYS Assemblyman (and former Cohoes Mayor) John McDonald about the Norlite toxic waste incinerator. May 28, 2020.

Listen

Located in Cohoes, Norlite is burning toxic chemicals within a densely populated city and threatening the health of people throughout the entire New York Capital Region and beyond.

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