Statement From Assemblymember John T. McDonald III, RPH on Norlite Temporarily Shutting Down Core Operations at Their Cohoes Facility

“The news announced by Norlite to temporarily shut down its core operations should not come as a surprise to anyone. As one who has worked with the community, the regulator NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Norlite for the last 25 years I can confidently say that the site is a complex facility that has had challenges to be compliant when we look at today's environmental standards.

The first concern is to focus on the well-being of the hard-working employees at Norlite. Although there is a question of if or when Norlite will restart or retain certain functions at the site, for the individuals who work there and their families that they support this can be agonizing and personally financially damaging. We can all work to help meet the needs of those working there to find gainful employment during this period of uncertainty if that is their desire.

I also share concerns regarding the residents and taxpayers of the City of Cohoes. Norlite has been a significant contributor to the tax base and many community organizations over the past two decades. Whereas that does not bless the challenges they have faced over the years, it is a reminder that there may be impacts on the city and school district and we need to be cognizant of those impacts, if any.

Finally, we need to be mindful of the impact of the impact on the environment. Yes, that seems contradictory to certain issue that have been alleged with Norlite but keep one item in mind - in as much as incineration has been a concern and rightly so specifically related to PFAS (which Senator Breslin and I stopped at Norlite and statewide), many environmentalists have reminded me of the important function that proper disposal of hazardous materials is to our environment. Gone are the days of dumping toxic items in our sanitary systems or landfills which can permeate the water ways and soils. No matter what your opinion of Norlite is in general, the safe and proper disposal of hazardous materials must be kept in mind as this process with Norlite moves forward.

I remain committed to continue to work with all parties to do what is right for the community and the environment.”