In a recent op-ed, GE claims it has done everything necessary to remove toxic PCBs that it dumped into the Hudson River decades ago — and that EPA agrees.
Neither is true.
First, a significant amount of PCB contamination will remain if GE stops dredging this fall, as planned. A new federal report found there are 2-3 times more PCBs in the Upper Hudson than EPA originally estimated.
That additional pollution is not currently slated for cleanup, and more dredging is necessary to get rid of it. Otherwise, fish still won't be safe to eat, commercial shipping lanes won't be safe to dredge, and even the air people breathe along the Hudson will have higher-than-normal PCB levels, threatening public health.
Second, GE implies that it is required to dismantle its current sediment processing facility when dredging ends this fall, preventing further cleanup. But EPA has made it clear that, by court order, the corporation has to negotiate what happens next, and they can't just pick up and leave. As the EPA Project Director said: "GE is not the decider here."
Finally, GE neglects to mention that the EPA-negotiated cleanup is just one part of its obligation to restore the river. The company will still have to pay for the damage it has caused to the state's natural resources. The more sediment left behind, the higher that bill should be.
GE must stop trying to cut corners and finally clean up the mess it made in the Hudson River in full.
Mark A. Izeman
New York Program, Natural Resources Defense Council
New York City
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