BEACON, NY– Hudson River Sloop Clearwater reacted with outrage and a pledge to persist in the face of General Electric Company’s announcement today that it has completed dredging of PCBs it disseminated into the Hudson River over several decades.
“We are outraged at GE’s callous disregard for the people of New York and the health of one of the country’s most precious resources, the Hudson River,” said Peter A. Gross, executive director of Clearwater. “GE acknowledges that it created the toxic, dangerous mess by dumping hundreds of thousands of pounds of PCBs into the river. Its self-congratulatory statement about having cleaned up more than half, while walking away from the rest, is a level of corporate irresponsibility rarely seen.”
“GE’s refusal to clean up its mess makes a mockery of its claims to be a responsible corporate citizen,” Gross said.
Manna Jo Greene, Clearwater’s Environmental Action director, added this: “GE has ignored the call of 75 municipalities and dozens of editorials calling on GE to finish the job it started.”
Clearwater has been working for more than 40 years to ensure that GE cleans up the millions of pounds of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) it discharged into the upper Hudson River from 1947 – 1977, when they were banned.
“GE advertises that they are a socially and environmentally responsible corporation that practices ‘Ecomagination,’” Greene said. “They had an important opportunity to demonstrate this by leaving their facilities mobilized and by ensuring a more robust cleanup, including the removal of the remaining contaminated sediment and cost-effective navigational dredging to restore full use of the river by commercial shipping vessels. Instead, GE is putting short-term profit ahead of public health and safety and delaying the recovery of our beloved Hudson River.”
Gross said that, “GE well knows that public health is at stake. The PCB contamination continues to cause poisoning of fish that many depend on for consumption, as well as the loss of large stretches of the Hudson River for healthful recreation. In addition, the pollution continues to cause damage to the economies of communities along the Hudson.”
Gross also criticized the Environmental Protection Agency for not stepping up. “We are sorely disappointed that the EPA, charged with responsibility to protect the environment, has not taken action to stop GE from walking away. We will continue to press for EPA and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to hold GE accountable for cleaning up our magnificent Hudson River.”