Date: January 31, 2002
Source: News Room
Facing few options, General Electric Co. is likely to go along with an order from the Environmental Protection Agency demanding the dredging of tons of toxic PCBs from the Hudson River. Last Friday, EPA Administrator Christie Whitman signed the final record of decision, making official the plan that was first put forth 14 months ago by the Clinton administration. The cleanup along a 40-mile stretch of the Hudson River north of Albany, N.Y., is one of the largest such dredging operations ever. GE opposes the dredging, which would cost it some $500 million. The company says that dredging sediment could stir up the PCBs from the river bed and into the moving river water, making the problem worse. GE dumped 1.3 million pounds of PCBs into the river from its plants in Fort Edward and Hudson Falls, N.Y., north of Albany, before the federal government banned the substance in 1977. EPA classifies PCBs as a probable carcinogen and says they pose a risk to people who eat fish from the Hudson. The EPA blueprint now enters the three-year design stage, where the engineering details to scoop out the PCBs will be worked out. The plan calls for dredging 2.65 million cubic yards of contaminated sediment < enough to fill about 40 football fields 30 feet deep < which is expected to remove 150,000 pounds of PCBs. More information: www.epa.gov/hudson.