Coalition Unveils Message on NY State Thruway Calling for
Continued Cleanup of PCBs Dumped in the Hudson by GE
The Campaign for a Cleaner Hudson unveiled a billboard today on the New York State Thruway calling on General Electric Co. (GE) to continue the cleanup of toxic PCBs the company dumped in the Hudson River for decades.
The highway billboard features a panoramic photo of the Hudson River Valley with the bold headline, “A Superfund Site Runs Through It.”
The Hudson River was designated a Superfund site by the federal government due to the toxic PCBs dumped in the river from two GE plants north of Albany in Fort Edward and Hudson Falls, NY. The PCB contamination extends 200 miles south to New York Harbor, making it the longest Superfund site on record.
The billboard asks people to “Tell GE—Don’t Quit the PCB Cleanup” at CleanerHudson.org. GE has said that it will finish the EPA-mandated portion of the cleanup at the end of this year and will begin to dismantle its high-tech dredging operation.
The Campaign for a Cleaner Hudson is a coalition of individuals and organizations with the common goal of making the Hudson cleaner and safer by reducing the amount of toxic PCBs in the river. The coalition is organized by Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Riverkeeper and Scenic Hudson.
“GE poisoned the river for decades—turning its fish toxic, making its water unhealthy, and severely limiting its commercial and recreational activity,” said Dan Raichel, Staff Attorney at NRDC. “The corporation can hardly say the work is done and walk away from the cleanup at the end of the year with hundreds of thousands of pounds of toxic chemicals left in the Hudson.
“GE has a legal obligation to restore the Hudson River even after the EPA-mandated cleanup and that should include removing the remaining substantial toxic hotspots. Cities, counties and towns along a 200–mile stretch of the Hudson agree, with already 70 having passed resolutions calling on GE to repair the damage it’s done.”
“GE claims to care about the environment and about being a good corporate citizen,” said Peter Gross, executive director of Clearwater. “To make those claims more than empty PR, the company should step up to its responsibility to finish cleaning up the toxic mess it made by dumping PCBs into the Hudson. GE has a choice: Its legacy can be that of an indifferent toxic polluter or it can act now to make it that of a responsible company that cares about a clean environment and the people of New York."
The billboard is located just south of Thruway Exit 21B in Coxsackie and is visible on the left to motorists traveling southbound. At 22 feet high by 100 feet wide, the billboard is one of the largest on this stretch of I-87. Campaign for a Cleaner Hudson plans to run the ad through the summer season.
Concerned residents, organizations and businesses are encouraged to visit the new campaign website—www.cleanerhudson.org—to stay informed and learn about ways to push GE to answer for its responsibilities to the Hudson River and communities along its shores. The website offers opportunities to sign a petition, volunteer, and spread the word via social media.