New York Attorney General Argues for Limiting Green Amendment's Reach

"Residents say a hazardous waste incinerator’s emissions violate their new constitutional right to a “healthful environment.” "

"COHOES, N.Y. — In a small city in upstate New York, just a few miles from Albany, the Norlite hazardous waste incinerator sputters and groans. The sound punctures the eerie silence of a deserted public housing complex next door, separated from the plant by only a fence and some railroad tracks.

No children play on the jungle gym here anymore, and no families bustle in and out of front doors. Last year, after mounting concern from the community over Norlite’s air emissions, the Cohoes Housing Authority began relocating all residents of the 70-unit Saratoga Sites complex. The city now plans to raze the homes.

For more than 30 years, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, or DEC, has attempted to force Norlite to comply with state environmental laws, issuing the plant hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties. But even dozens of violations dating back to the 1990s have failed to stop Norlite from polluting. Last year, when New York Attorney General Letitia James and the DEC took the extra step of suing the plant, alleging its emissions endangered the health of the surrounding community, many nearby residents welcomed the escalation. But as the lawsuit plays out, the state has allowed Norlite to remain in operation, even as the plant continues to violate environmental laws — a move that many community members see as a capitulation."

Rebecca Redelmeier reports for The Intercept November 9 2023.

Source: The Intercept, 11/15/2023