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The Hudson River PCB Story

EPA Says Clean-up the Hudson River!

After more than 25 years of fighting to rid the Hudson of PCBs, Clearwater learned on July 31 that EPA Administrator Christie Whitman decided to move forward with a comprehensive PCB clean-up, as proposed by the EPA last December. Mrs. Whitman´s draft Record of Decision calls for removing more than 100,000 pounds of PCBs from targeted `hotspots´ in the Upper Hudson using environmental dredging. This draft proposes to do the project in phases, to allow for assessment of dredging results in one area before moving to another. The draft decision now goes to New York State for review and comment. It is likely that little will change during the 30 day review.

This is clearly a victory for the Hudson River and for public health as well as a precedent that supports the Superfund process and law that allows us to clean up toxic waste sites. The reported phasing of the project may be beneficial, as long as it is not used as a delay tactic. Clearwater believes that water monitoring during dredging would provide the same protections with less delay.

Clearwater thanks Mrs. Whitman for her courageous decision, which was made based on years of scientific study rather than politics or corporate advertising campaigns.

Clearwater also applauds Governor Pataki for his role in the clean-up. While remaining non-committal about the EPA´s Proposed Plan until recently, Governor Pataki has supported a clean-up throughout the entire process. As rumors circulated that the clean-up might be scaled down significantly, Governor Pataki called Mrs. Whitman and strongly endorsed the EPA´s Proposed Plan. The Governor´s call also opened the door for Clearwater and the Friends of a Clean Hudson Coalition to finally meet with Christie Whitman after months of attempting to set up a meeting.

Thank you to all the Clearwater members and supporters who made phone calls and wrote letters and emails to the Governor and Administrator Whitman in the past few weeks. Your actions helped advance the river´s clean-up. We appreciate your support.

Clearwater is cautiously awaiting the final Record of Decision, due sometime in September. While the recent announcement is great news, we must remain vigilant to ensure that political deals and legal maneuvering do not derail this long overdue clean-up. General Electric continues to spend millions on lobbying and advertising in Washington, DC and will continue to fight any clean-up plan.

Clearwater will continue to fight to ensure that the proposed clean-up or an expanded one is implemented. We will work to make sure that the clean-up is done correctly and in a way that minimizes disruption to upriver communities. Clearwater will also continue to advocate for using treatment technologies that separate PCBs from sediment and destroy or detoxify them as an alternative to landfilling. (See our public comment to the EPA for more details)

Thank you letters to Governor Pataki and Administrator Whitman would be appreciated. Their email addresses are listed below. It is important to let them know you support their decision, as they will most certainly hear from GE and clean-up opponents.

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