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U.S. Agencies Responsible for PCB Monitoring in the Hudson River Battle Each Other

Despite coverage of GE’s near-criminal pollution of the Hudson River with PCBs manufactured at its two New York plants in Hudson Falls and Fort Edward, and the decades long litigation which resulted in the Hudson River being declared a Superfund site and engendered the cleanup that is being overseen by the Environmental Protection Agency, new evidence of the extensive nature of this pollution continue to be discovered.  And despite the responsibility of the various federal agencies to protect us, and to return the River to some state that will allow for recreational use, these agencies instead are now fighting among themselves about how well they are doing their jobs.

On March 24, 2016 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists published a re-evaluation of how long PCBs would remain in Hudson River fish, and when those fish would be protective of human health—that is, could be safely eaten and handled by people.  These scientist concluded that the amount of PCBs in Upper Hudson River sediments after the current cleanup operations were higher than predicted by those people at EPA that designed the cleanup.  They also found that the rate of sediment recovery (PCB load decreases) was slower than the EPA predicted, and that it will take decades longer for fish in the Lower Hudson River to be safe for human use than originally thought.  Decades.

Rather than joining forces and working together on a further analysis or, better yet—evaluating the value of a further cleanup—the EPA decided to issue a rebuttal of the NOAA study, and attempted to invalidate NOAA’s results.  Rather than living up to its mandate, protecting the environment, EPA chose to use some of its very limited resources to save face.

Makes one wonder where EPA’s allegiance lies. With GE, or with us?  You decide.

For more information on the GE/EPA developed cleanup, and the work that is being done to remediated and save the Hudson River, please see the following:

General Counsel for Natural Resources, Damage Assessment, Remediation & Restoration Program