Scenic Hudson Applauds EPA Plan to Work with DEC to Better Understand PCB Pollution in Upper Hudson River

Monday, January 29, 2018 -- Scenic Hudson
Contact: 

Ned Sullivan, President, 914 489 4630, nsullivan@scenichudson.org
Hayley Carlock, Environmental Advocacy Director, 845 891 3148, hcarlock@scenichudson.org

Support also for announced EPA investigation of PCBs in lower river

Group continues to say GE can’t be given signoff for current cleanup

HUDSON VALLEY—Scenic Hudson today applauded Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 2 Administrator Pete Lopez for announcing that his agency intends to collaborate with the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to assess the status of toxic PCB pollution in the upper Hudson River. At the same time, he also stated that his agency will further evaluate how that pollution has migrated downstream into the lower Hudson.

In today's news release, Administrator Lopez announced that the EPA will study some 1,800 sediment samples the DEC took in the upper Hudson in 2017. After EPA experts analyze the data, Mr. Lopez says his agency will collaborate with the DEC in making conclusions about the pollution. The administrator also said the EPA will begin conducting additional studies to better understand PCB pollution in the lower Hudson.

Additionally, Administrator Lopez said his agency is reviewing input from the DEC, the U.S. Department of Interior and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration—the three Natural Resource Trustees tasked with overseeing the river’s future restoration—regarding the Certificate of Completion that polluter General Electric has requested for its PCB cleanup to date.

“Scenic Hudson commends Region 2 Administrator Pete Lopez for publicly committing his agency to collaborate with the state Department of Environmental Conservation on an analysis of the current extent of PCB contamination in the upper Hudson River—and for agreeing to work jointly to reach a conclusion about this pollution. The DEC has conducted important and extensive sampling of contamination of the Hudson River that will, we hope, be persuasive to the EPA in reaching a conclusion that additional cleanup is required to protect the environment and public health. We also applaud Administrator Lopez for taking a closer look at pollution in the lower Hudson, where levels of contamination in fish have not benefited from the six years of dredging conducted upriver. Finally, we are encouraged by Mr. Lopez’s decision to review input from New York State and the federal Natural Resource Trustees before reaching a decision about issuing General Electric a Certificate of Completion for the cleanup. The trustees have strongly stated that additional cleanup is required, while the DEC and state Attorney General have made compelling scientific and legal arguments that the EPA should refrain from issuing this certificate until the cleanup achieves its mandated goal to be ‘protective of human health and the environment,’ ” said Scenic Hudson President Ned Sullivan.

“Despite these positive moves,” added Mr. Sullivan, “it is essential that the EPA conclude in its Five Year Review of the cleanup that it currently is ‘not protective,’ and also eliminate a forecast in the draft review that it ‘will be protective’ in 55 or more years. Scenic Hudson is joined in calling for these actions by fellow environmental groups, all of the Natural Resource Trustees as well as 16 members of Congress, 165 state legislators, six of the Hudson Valley’s county executives, dozens of business and union leaders, and thousands of citizens. GE cannot be let off the hook until it achieves the cleanup our river deserves.”

About Scenic Hudson

Scenic Hudson helps citizens and communities preserve land and farms and create parks where people experience the outdoors and enjoy the Hudson River. We also bring together people, businesses and government to protect the river and natural resources that are the engines of the valley’s local economies. Started in 1963 by a handful of citizens who cherished the simple pleasures of the outdoors along the Hudson, Scenic Hudson is credited with launching the modern grass-roots environmental movement. Today, in the face of new challenges and the effects of climate change, we are dedicated to making the Hudson Valley a great place to live, work and play. Our focus is on strengthening and maximizing benefits all can enjoy from the region’s great assets—beautiful open spaces, working farms, and vibrant cities and town centers.

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