August 21, 2019

Hudson Valley Environmental Group Clearwater “Highly Commends” Attorney General James And Governor Cuomo on their Lawsuit Against EPA

Beacon, NY – Attorney General Letitia James and Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for violating federal law when it issued a “Certificate of Completion” to General Electric Company for its removal of polychlorinated biphenyls from the Hudson River. Hudson River Sloop Clearwater has been at the forefront of the environmental movement for over fifty years, with a mission to preserve and protect the Hudson River. Founded by Pete Seeger in the 1960’s when the Hudson River was rank with sewage, toxic chemical and oil pollution, it has been the mission of the organization to educate and advocate on behalf of the Hudson.

Clearwater President, Stephen Smith commented, “On behalf of the many residents of our river communities who have no choice but to subsist on Hudson River Fish, Clearwater applauds this move toward environmental justice. It is far too easy for the leaders of large corporations and officials of our government agencies to forget that the decisions that they make affect the lives of many, many individuals and families, and those with the least often suffer the most. We call on GE and the EPA to accept their responsibilities and move forward with this clean-up of our river to protect the lives of all of those who depend on it.”

Environmental Director, Manna Jo Greene, who has been working on this case since its outset, said, “NYS Attorney General Letitia James is to be highly commended for taking this action to get EPA to do its job to protect human health and the environment. In 1993 Clearwater’s landmark Angler Survey and many studies since, including our revised Angler Survey in 2010, have demonstrated that people who practice subsistence fishing are eating PCB-contaminated fish from the Hudson River, despite health advisories to the contrary. By issuing a premature Certificate of Completion to General Electric, EPA has failed to address this and must be made to do so.”

“The Hudson River Sloop Clearwater congratulates Governor Cuomo and Attorney General James for making good on an important promise: To hold the EPA accountable to the law and suing for the revoking of the Certificate of Completion for General Electric’s cleanup of the Hudson River.” said Greg Williams, Executive Director. “It is hard to imagine a more fitting way to celebrate Clearwater’s fiftieth anniversary. This lawsuit represents moving forward instead of retreating on long standing issues, which we need to do in order to confront new issues such as climate change, stormwater barriers and safe and equitable transition to renewable energy.”

“For the last four years, we’ve celebrated the strength of the Hudson River’s sustainable agriculture community by hosting a dinner we call “Chefs for Clearwater”. Each year we’ve been frustrated by our inability to safely include Hudson River fish in that meal. This lawsuit gives me hope that we will be able to enjoy Hudson River fish at Chefs for Clearwater within my lifetime” said Hal Cohen, Clearwater founder and Chefs for Clearwater committee member.

About Hudson River Sloop Clearwater

Launched in 1969 by legendary folk singer and activist Pete Seeger, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater has been at the forefront of the environmental movement as champions of the Hudson River. To date, more than half a million people have experienced their first real look at an estuary’s ecosystem aboard the sloop Clearwater. Clearwater has become the grassroots model for producing positive changes to protect our planet. For more information, visit

Media Contact:
Erin Macchiaroli ext. 7100
Hudson River Sloop Clearwater
P: 845-265-8080 F: 206-350-5680

Downloadable PDF of Press Release