North Troy Environmental Justice Film Festival

Just in time to honor the true spirit of Earth Day, the North Troy Environmental Justice Film Festival presents a slate of grassroots media projects with the lofty goal of changing the world. From April 21 through May 5, a series of online screenings, presentations and workshops will highlight the struggles of “ordinary” people from Cohoes, NY to Arica, Chile who are confronting corporate polluters and seizing control of their own destinies. Organized by The Sanctuary for Independent Media, the North Troy Environmental Justice Film Festival honors the epic struggle against multinational capitalism by working people with everything to lose and nothing to gain but what they already have: health, home and happiness.

April 21 “Local Media/Local Voices: The Struggle for Clean Air in the Hudson Mohawk Region” [films and panel]
April 25 “Arica: A Toxic Waste Scandal” with “Our Soil” [film and panel]
April 30 “Echoes from Lock One” with filmmaker Q&A in collaboration with North Dakota Environmental Film Festival [film and panel]
May 5 “Witness to the Future” 25th anniversary screening [film]

To register, visit:

The North Troy Environmental Justice Film Festival takes place online and is free of charge. Registration is required.

In the words of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: “Environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. This goal will be achieved when everyone enjoys the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards, and equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.”

Those are the words, we are living the reality. A year of the pandemic has proven what everyone knows: working class and communities of color are far more vulnerable to the effects of toxic pollution than the general population. We knew it, the pandemic proved it–what are we going to do about it?

The North Troy Environmental Justice Film Festival tells the stories of people working to make a change against seemingly insurmountable odds.

This event is produced by The Sanctuary for Independent Media and sponsored by iEAR Presents! and the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at Rensselaer, made possible in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and by the Center for Health, Environment and Justice.

Arica: a Toxic Waste Scandal with “Our Soil” panel

Arica: a Toxic Waste Scandal with "Our Soil" panel
Sunday 04/25/2021 - 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
View a special Northern Hemisphere sneak preview of the documentary Arica, then join us for a panel discussion with directors, Lars Edman and William Johansson Kalén, plus local "Our Soil" [...]

DEC Emails Show Official Knew About Norlite Burning AFFF

On Thursday, a group of residents near the Norlite hazardous waste incinerator held a press conference where they publicly released a letter sent to the NYS Inspector General calling for an investigation into two DEC officials. In this segment, you will hear former EPA Regional Administrator, Judith Enck.

Emails obtained via a FOIL request show that former DEC Region 4 Director Keith Goertz knew Norlite was incinerating AFFF as early as March 2019. Since the public learned that Norlite burned 2.4 million pounds of AFFF, DEC has maintained that it didn’t know about the AFFF burning until late 2019 and that as soon as they learned about it, they immediately directed Norlite to stop burning AFFF and initiated a permit review. But the April 2019 emails from Keith Goertz, the former DEC Region 4 Director, show that he knew Norlite was incinerating AFFF after he made an informal request for sampling to determine whether the AFFF was being destroyed.

Residents have sent a letter to the NYS Inspector General calling for an investigation into the actions of Keith Goertz, former DEC Regional Director for Region 4 (2014-2020) and Joseph Hasdershbeck, who was the DEC full-time onsite monitor at Norlite for 15 years until 2020.

Clean Air Forum Episode 2: Interview With Joseph Ritchie

On Tuesday (February 9), there will be a Clean Air Forum held to discuss issues regarding air quality in local communities including but not limited to, environmental laws and waste-burning practices. In this podcast, McKenna Conners will discuss the information relevant to the event and the importance of efforts to ensure clean and safe air in residential areas with Joseph Ritchie, who is the Executive Director of Saratoga Sites Against Norlite Emissions.

Coverage of 2-3-21 DEC Norlite Meeting

MediaSanctuary · Coverage of 2-3-21 DEC Norlite Meeting

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation held an online public information session last week about the Norlite hazardous waste incinerator in Cohoes. The meeting followed a string of highly publicized lapses in the plant’s pollution controls. More than one hundred people attended. Hudson Mohawk Magazine correspondent Steve Pierce was one of them.

To view the presentation slides, hear a recording of the full meeting, and read the transcript, click here. Click here to see the Lights Out Norlite press conference about dust emissions from the plant.

Memorial Altar: “Emerging from Darkness”

Memorial Altar: "Emerging from Darkness"
Sunday 01/17/2021 - 05/01/2021 - 12:00 pm - 7:00 pm
EMERGING FROM DARKNESS: MAKING SPACE FOR GRIEF An installation to honor personal, community, national and global loss We welcome you to visit Freedom Square, at the corner of 101st St. [...]

Anneka Knoll

Anneka Knoll is a junior majoring in Film and Television with a minor in Advertising at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York. She is the summer 2020 video ninja who edits video content for
Sanctuary TV. At the Sanctuary, she has learned about indigenous communities, the issues surrounding the Cohoes Norlite plant which produces toxic waste, and how COVID-19 disproportionately affects minority communities. Anneka also works for the Siena College Research Institute where she makes telephone calls and interviews people about political, social, and environmental issues. In her free time, she likes to go hiking and swimming.

Summary judgement sought in AFFF lawsuit, but DOD wants the case to move to a different court

In February of 2020, a lawsuit filed by Earthjustice on behalf of Sierra Club and other plaintiffs alleges the Department of Defense violated the National Environmental Policy Act by incinerating its stockpiles of AFFF without environmental review. The DOD recently released the Norlite hazardous waste incinerator in Cohoes from its contract to burn AFFF, though the bulk of the DOD’s stockpile was already burned there over a 2-year period. In this segment, we hear a brief update on the lawsuit with Jane Williams, Chair of the National Clean Air Team for Sierra Club. Jane will be a panelist at the upcoming Norlite Town Hall. The event will take place on-line or by phone on Thursday, July 23rd at 6:30 pm.

More info here:

MediaSanctuary · Summary judgement sought in AFFF lawsuit, but DOD wants the case to move to a different court

Ana Cowie

Ana Cowie is an undergraduate student at Oberlin College. She is passionate about the environment and is hoping to major in Environmental Studies and minor in Cognitive Science. Ana is an intern at The Sanctuary for the summer of 2020. While here, she is primarily focusing on Norlite, a toxic waste incinerator across the Hudson from The Sanctuary, and is working with Lights Out Norlite, an activist group committed to raising awareness and shutting down the incinerator. Ana will be producing segments for the Hudson Mohawk Radio Show and compiling information for Lights Out Norlite on their HMEAN (Hudson Mowhawk Environmental Activism Network) page. She is excited to learn about and delve into the history of Norlite, and actively participate in Lights Out Norlite.

You can find Ana’s work here: