Blogs > Docket > Exposé on GE’s Past PCB Cover-up Tactics Offers Opportunity for Redemption through NRDA Process

Exposé on GE’s Past PCB Cover-up Tactics Offers Opportunity for Redemption through NRDA Process

Riverkeeper campaign for pcbs cleanup

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Riverkeeper campaign for pcbs cleanupLast week, the Albany Times Union printed an in-depth investigative story that shows just how underhanded GE has acted regarding its discharge of millions of pounds of toxic PCBs in the Hudson River, including covering up its discharge and the negative health effects of PCBs. The corporation spent tens of millions of dollars on legal maneuverings, heavyweight lobbying, and saturation of advertising campaigns in an effort to avoid its clear legal responsibility. Once it could no longer avoid a government-ordered cleanup, the GE used its money and might to negotiate a partial remediation project (one that is worthwhile but far from complete), leaving hundreds of acres of contamination in the Hudson River.

To no one’s apparent surprise, it seems that GE is up to its old tricks again: this time knowing full well that it is liable not only for the cleanup its currently doing but also for compensating the public for losses connected to its decades of polluting the Hudson as part of the Natural Resources Damage Assessment (NRDA). GE now spuriously states that it considers this second, hugely important phase to be all covered by the remediation it’s done. However, Riverkeeper has not been fooled! Even the federal NRDA Trustees have called GE out for its misleading statements of the company’s very real future liability.

But this could now be a turning point for GE, who, with only 2 years left of dredging, has the opportunity to redeem itself after decades of lies, manipulation, and bullying. GE has the opportunity to abandon these tactics and do the right thing by immediately completing a cleanup of the additional 136 acres of highly contaminated hot spots (left behind after GE’s current dredging) as part of the NRDA. This includes a cleanup up of the navigational channel that is filled with PCBs; the contamination of which has caused business and community losses for the past several decades.

However, should GE continue on the path of arrogance in the face of facts, Riverkeeper will continue to hold GE accountable for their damage to the Hudson River, as we have done in the past. We will continue to urge the New York State Comptroller to issue a formal shareholder resolution which would force GE to account for their undeniable NRDA liability. And we will continue to call for GE to respond to the Trustees’ invitation for a cooperative agreement under the NRDA to dredge the remaining hot spots while the company is still in the river, thereby righting GE’s wrongs now and not 10 or 15 years down the road.

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