CAPITAL REGION/HUDSON VALLEY— Today, GE announced that it will move its headquarters from Connecticut to Boston—even further away from its toxic mess that it plans to leave in the Hudson River. Three leading environmental organizations that for decades have been pursuing a thorough and effective cleanup of GE’s PCB pollution of the Hudson River stated that regardless of where in the world the company moves—its obligations to New Yorkers aren’t changing.
Recognizing the Hudson Valley’s cultural and natural significance, New York State passed the Hudson River Valley Greenway Act in 1991. It provides an organization and resources to assist communities in implementing collaborative projects to protect and highlight the region’s scenic, ecological and historic treasures. The Greenway now works with 324 eligible municipalities in 14 counties.
Throughout the latter decades of the 20th century, when the car was king, traffic engineers designed streets for a single purpose: to move vehicles efficiently and safely. Today, planners take a more holistic approach to how streets work and who they serve.
For 80 years, Sleepy Hollow’s waterfront was an industrial zone, dominated by the 96.5-acre General Motors assembly plant. GM closed the plant in 1996 and demolished the buildings four years later. Since then, the property has gone through a brownfield site assessment and cleanup process, completed last year. Simultaneously, GM and a partner developer created a plan for a mixed-use development that would increase the village’s housing supply by a third.
The health of the Hudson River is undeniably better these days. Years of investments in new sewage treatment plants, separating stormwater and sewage pipe outflows, tougher pollution regulations and rigorous enforcement is paying off for the Hudson and people along it. Water quality has improved to the point where we can safely swim in the Hudson, in most places, most of the time. Populations of some fish species have stabilized or are beginning to rebound. Increasing numbers of boaters, fishers and shoreline explorers are coming back to the river after decades of staying away.
In a pre-budget announcement, Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed three visionary initiatives to fund projects that would vastly improve the health and prosperity of communities throughout the Hudson Valley and across the state.
These proposals include: