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Riverkeeper responds to DEC report challenging effectiveness of PCBs cleanup

For immediate release: December 21, 2016
Contact: Cliff Weathers, Communications Director
914-478-4501, ext. 239; [email protected]

Late yesterday, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation released its independent report on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s review of the cleanup of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) contamination in the Hudson River. It found that dredging performed by General Electric to clean up a portion of the PCBs from the Hudson River was not protective of human health or the environment.

In response, Riverkeeper issues this statement in response to the announcement of the report:

“Riverkeeper concurs with the DEC’s conclusion that the remedy selected to clean up GE’s PCBs in the Upper Hudson River is not protective of human health and the environment,” said Riverkeeper Staff Attorney Abigail Jones. “DEC’s report confirms what Riverkeeper has been arguing for years: there’s much more contamination in the river than anticipated, the fish consumption advisories are not working, and the decades-long delay for recovery of the river is unacceptable.

“We are excited and encouraged by DEC’s strong stance to ensure the health of the Hudson River. This is the sort of decisive action we’ve been calling for since we first learned about the problems with the cleanup. EPA has refused to acknowledge the extent to which the problems with the dredging and the fish consumption advisories are impacting the successfulness of the remedy. Only by acknowledging what’s lacking can we move forward with actions to ensure the remedy is not a failure.

“EPA cannot be allowed to kick the can down the road, waiting decades longer for ‘monitored natural recovery’ to play out while we continue to be contaminated by PCBs. The DEC’s formal analysis leaves no doubt that the only rational and supported determination that EPA can come to in its Five Year Review is that the selected remedy for the Hudson River is not protective.”

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