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Riverkeeper, Scenic Hudson and a coalition of partners request meaningful public engagement for Lower Hudson PCBs study

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Letter asks EPA to set public information meetings and create a Community Advisory Group, in anticipation of PCB contamination study in lower river south of Troy

pcbs fish advisoryIn advance of a new study of PCB contamination in the lower Hudson River, Riverkeeper, Scenic Hudson and other coalition members are requesting that the EPA establish a Lower Hudson Community Advisory Group (CAG) within the next two months. Such a group can ensure a transparent process for meaningful public input and results from the new study. It would operate as one of the subcommittees of the CAG for the Hudson River PCBs Superfund Site, which encompasses a nearly 200-mile stretch of the Hudson River in eastern New York State from Hudson Falls, New York to the Battery in New York City.

Last year EPA announced that General Electric would plan and fund a study of contamination extending throughout the “Lower Hudson” – the entire 160-mile stretch from the Federal Dam at Troy south to the Battery in New York City – by collecting samples of fish, water and sediment and analyzing levels of PCBs and other contaminants. It’s an overdue and critically important phase in dealing with GE’s legacy of toxic contamination from PCBs in fish and sediment throughout the Hudson.

A CAG is a community initiative, and “intended to provide a forum through which a broad and diverse sample of community needs and interests are represented. The purpose of the CAG is to provide a way for members of communities and stakeholders to present and discuss their needs and concerns related to the site design and cleanup decision-making process. It offers EPA an opportunity to hear and consider community input on the design and impacts of the selected remedy.”

A letter sent to Lisa Garcia, EPA Regional Administrator, Region 2, asked that the EPA to:

1. Hold at least 2 accessible public information sessions in Mid- and Lower-Hudson River communities that will allow local officials and new partner groups to understand the process, current status and potential future actions of the Hudson River Superfund Site, especially with respect to the Lower Hudson;

2. Move forward expeditiously with invitations for Lower Hudson stakeholders, with an emphasis on vulnerable communities, to join the existing Community Advisory Group and form the Lower Hudson subcommittee as soon as possible; and

3. Commit to conduct an angler survey so that an accurate understanding of current fish consumption levels can inform agency decision-making.

The request was signed by Scenic Hudson, Riverkeeper, WE ACT for Environmental Justice, The Climate Reality Project Hudson Valley & Catskills Chapter, Green Ossining, Keep it Greene, the Hudson River Drinking Water Intermunicipal Council (Hudson 7), ROAR (Religious Organizations Along the River), Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Arbor Hill Environmental Justice Corporation, Town of Bethlehem, Town of Saugerties, Historic Hudson River Towns, Catskill Mountainkeeper, Catskill Mountains Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Food & Water Watch, Newburgh Clean Water Project, Kingston Land Trust, NYNJ Baykeeper and Dr. David Carpenter.

As the EPA continues to review the overall Superfund remedial action under the ongoing third 5-Year Review process, Riverkeeper will continue to take an active role to press the EPA to expand studies to the lower Hudson, as the likelihood of GE’s PCBs have migrated south, contaminating the River to its most southern points in New York Harbor. Please sign up to receive our announcements and action steps in anticipation for the upcoming five-year-review and public comment period and visit