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Additional Letters to the Editor

Something needs to be done

To the Editor of HudsonWatch.net --
Mr. Lehner's letter is most interesting! ("Setting the record straight about legality of G.E.'s PCB discharges," HudsonWatch.net, January 5, 2001.)  One of the points I made in my complaint filed with Mr. Lehner's boss, New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, was that those of us with a point of view opposing G.E. have been shut out of the public forums in the media where G.E.'s ads have run. 

My complaint to the A.G, filed January 4, 2001, concerns the truly blatant lies being put forth by General Electric Company in its anti-dredging advertising campaign.  Notably, The Independent is the only media outlet that carried the press release announcing the filing of that complaint.

I received the following response signed by Attorney General Spitzer, dated January 16, 2001: "Thank you for your recent letter.  I appreciate your making me aware of your concerns regarding G.E.'s anti-dredging advertising campaign.  I have forwarded your letter to the appropriate members of my staff for their review.  You can be assured that we will keep your views in mind during our on-going discussions of this issue.  Once again, thank you for taking the time to bring your concerns to my attention."

We'll see.  With G.E. granted two more months to work on public opinion, something needs to be done.

Robert L. Henrickson <rlhe@localnet.com>
East Nassau, New York
Tuesday, 6 February 2001

Save The Hudson
E-mail list

To the Editor of HudsonWatch.net --
I am writing to let you know about an E-mail list that my group has started, for the purpose of organizing a protest against General Electric and the Company's misinformation campaign.  The Web site for the list is: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/savethehudson/

My E-mail where I can be reached is hillwookies@yahoo.com.  We would thank you to place a link or some information on us on HudsonWatch.net, if you deem it appropriate.

Thank you so much for your wonderful Web site.  It is really nice to see people striking back who won't have the wool pulled over their eyes!

Thanks again,

William LaLonde <hillwookies@yahoo.com>
Wednesday, 7 February 2001

PCB's contaminated with furans?

To the Editor of HudsonWatch.net --
In reply to Ms. Katers recent letter ("And just where is that old oil now?!!!,"  HudsonWatch.net, January 31, 2001), two very useful references on PCDF's in PCB's and fires are:

1.  USEPA Dioxin Reassessment 2000, Volume 1, Part 2 section 8.3.3 on chlorobiphenyls:

2.  An Environment Canada report from 1985 on fires in PCB-containing electrical equipment - which contains a wealth of useful information:


Darryl Luscombe <Darryl.Luscombe@au.greenpeace.org>
Tuesday, February 6, 2001

And just where is that old oil now?!!!

To the Editor of HudsonWatch.net --
I'm in a debate with a G.E. engineer about the presence of furans in the Hudson, possibly from G.E.'s old transformer and capacitor oil dumping. 

I'm trying to locate information on whether old, used, degraded transformer oil has been tested for furans in the U.S., especially from G.E. products. Do any of you know where I could find documentation?

It occurred to me that overheating PCB transformer oil would increase the furan levels.  Not burning or exploding, just over-heating (which often happens.)

The purpose of PCB oil in transformers was to transfer and dissipate heat away from the core, where high voltages were stepped-down to low voltages. The voltage conversion generates a lot of heat. 

The boiling point of PCB's is about 325-366 degrees Centigrade, so PCB's can tolerate high temperatures without exploding or burning.  Unfortunately, furans are created from PCB's at 250-450 degrees Centigrade. 

Transformers don't ordinarily operate at such high temperatures, but on occasion the operators push more voltage through the transformer than normal, pushing the system to its maximum design parameters.  Sometimes the transformers are pushed beyond their normal tolerance by power surges, lightning strikes, tripping failures, or fires. After such events, or repeated events, the oils had to be replaced because they were "degraded" and lost their effectiveness. 

It stands to reason that the PCB's in direct contact with the extremely hot core would be exposed to higher temperatures than the surrounding liquid. It also makes sense that a transformer manufacturer like G.E. would regularly test its products by pushing them to and beyond their maximum voltage tolerances, to see how they would hold up under extreme conditions. 

It seems that all this heating would fry the PCB oils and create furans. If so, G.E.'s spent degraded transformer oils would have contained increased levels of furans. G.E. wouldn't have dumped good clean PCB oils, which were valuable, they would have dumped used, contaminated PCB's. 

The point of all this is that G.E. claims PCB's don't cause cancer, and that incidents like the Yusho (Japan) PCB poisoning showed cancer only because the oil was contaminated with furans.   I argued that PCB's are USUALLY contaminated with furans.  Maybe G.E.'s transformers actually manufactured furans in higher levels, providing greater evidence of carcinogenicity at Pittsfield and the Hudson River.

Does anyone have more information, or any references documenting the contamination of commercially-produced PCB's with Furans? 

The references attached below are what I've found so far.

Rebecca Leighton Katers
Clean Water Action Council of N.E. Wisconsin
East Port Center
1270 Main Street, Suite 120
Green Bay, Wisconsin 54302
Phone:  920.437.7304
Fax:  920.437.7326
E-mail:  CleanWater@cwac.net
Homepage:  www.cwac.net
Wednesday, 31 January 2001


From: EPA report, "PCB's: Cancer dose-response assessment and application to environmental mixtures." 


"Table 1-1. Typical composition (%) of some commercial PCB mixtures - [at the bottom of the table:] "Impurities include chlorinated dibenzofurans and naphthalenes; see WHO (1993) for sample concentrations." 


From --- Health Canada, "It's Your Health - Dioxins & Furans" 


"Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB's) used to be an important source of furans, which are contaminants in commercial PCB mixtures. Today, most PCB's are contained in secure facilities, and would be a source of furan releases to the environment only in the event of accidental leakage or fires." 


From: European Science Foundation Workshop on Dioxin Food Contamination Bayreuth, September 29 - 1 October 2000 


"In January 1999 a storage tank for animal fat in Belgium was badly contaminated with dioxins, furans and PCB. The contamination seems to have been caused by the discharge of about 25 liters of PCB transformer oil into a waste collection unit for animal fats recycled into animal's feed." 


From: United Nations - Persistent Organic Pollutants - "Working Group Reports, Working Group Industrial Chemicals and Contaminants" 

http://www.chem.unep.ch/pops/POPs Inc/proceedings/

"Poland: Poland produced PCB's and organochlorine pesticides. 2,4-D is still produced. PCDDs/Fs were found in transformer oil." [dioxins & furans] 


From: "Dioxins and Furans: Where They Come From," by Todd Paddock, Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, July, 1989 


"Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB's) have been widely used as cooling fluids in electrical equipment and some industrial cooling systems.  Such fluids are often a mixture of PCBs and other chemicals. PCBs can contain low levels of furans, and the other chemicals can contain low levels of both dioxins and furans." 

# # #

Hudson PCB levels 'may not have changed at all'

To the Editor of HudsonWatch.net --
I feel General Electric is misleading the public in its now $60 million campaign of advertising the effects of PCB's to humans and animals in the ecosystem. 

Indications in many published professional journals now represent a strong relationship between PCB's and Breast Cancer, Hodgkins and Non-Hodgkins Lymphomas, and developmental problems in children. 

Not many studies on animal models are published, however, autopsy reports of American Bald Eagles have showed extreme levels of PCB's. Obviously, if people are warned not to eat the fish, that's one thing.  Can the deer, birds and the entire food chain of the Hudson River yield to these warnings? 

According to recent E.P.A. reports:

"PCB's may undergo dechlorination, which is the process of removing chlorine atoms from a PCB molecule while leaving the main molecular structure intact. In the Hudson, this only affects the outer chlorine atoms. 

"In most instances, dechlorination of a PCB molecule simply yields a different PCB molecule. E.P.A. Reassessment studies have confirmed that while dechlorination is taking place in the upper Hudson River, it is merely changing one PCB into another, so the river is not 'cleaning itself.' "

In fact, the PCB levels of the Hudson may not have changed at all, but the PCB's may have just changed from one type to another!

It is my personal, and professional opinion that G.E. and New York State need to address this issue as soon as possible. 

Dr. Mitchell Cohen <LKGEO1@aol.com> 
Lake George and Fort Edward, New York 
Saturday, 23 December 2000

'G.E. misleads 
the public 

To the Editor of HudsonWatch.net --
The following is a Letter-to-the-Editor I e-mailed to several New York newspapers to call attention to false information about dredging --- being spread by G.E. in their press release and Web page.  Hopefully, it will help set the record straight.


Rebecca Katers <dredging@envirolink.org>
Clean Water Action of N.E. Wisconsin
Green Bay, Wisconsin
Tuesday, 12 December 2000

Attachment: Forwarded Message

To: The Editor
Subject: Response to G.E. misinformation

General Electric claims that dredging of PCB contaminated sediments from the Hudson River is more dangerous than leaving the PCB's in place.

Unfortunately, as part of its media campaign, G.E. misleads the public about recent PCB dredging projects here on the Fox River in Green Bay, Wisconsin (where I live) and in the nearby Manistique Harbor, in Upper Michigan. 

They claim that PCB's increased because of dredging, but in both cases they refer to PCB samples taken before the dredging was complete.  This is clearly not honest.

On the Fox River, it's true that the first year of the Fort James (56/57) project was bungled, but the project was controlled by the seven companies which polluted the river. 

They hired inexperienced contractors, used inadequate (slow) equipment, and started too late to finish before winter. They skimmed-off just enough sediment to expose the hottest PCB layers. 

Many of us believe they deliberately left the project incomplete to make dredging look bad, so they wouldn't have to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to clean up the rest of the river.

The next season, E.P.A. stepped in with a consent decree forcing the polluters to finish the job under strict standards and supervision by E.P.A.. 

This second phase of the project went smoothly and very quickly, because E.P.A. required Fort James Corporation (the main PCB source at this spot) to hire experienced contractors, to rent adequate equipment, and to start early enough to finish before winter. 

They used a vacuum dredge, with silt curtains around the perimeter, so few PCB's could leak downstream. 

Eighty-thousand (80,000) cubic yards of sediment and 2,500 lbs. of PCB's were removed permanently, leaving an average of less than 2 parts per million PCB's behind. The removed sediments will never again cause fish-eating advisories downstream.

The E.P.A. showed that dredging can be done with relative speed and safety.

After 25 years of studies, peer reviews, and multiple citizen advisory committees investigating the Fox River PCB cleanup, the industry
excuses just don't work anymore. 

It amazes me that our experiences are being misused so blatantly by G.E. in New York State.


Rebecca Katers <dredging@envirolink.org>
Clean Water Action of N.E. Wisconsin
Green Bay, Wisconsin
Tuesday, 12 December 2000

Crap and walk

To the Editor of HudsonWatch.net --
Keep up the good fight. 

Don't let those corporate robber-barons crap all over our environment and just walk away.

Monday, 11 December 2000

State-of-the-art dredge pics would help

To the Editor of HudsonWatch.net --
One thing seems unclear to me. 

If G.E. does finally dredge, will they be allowed to use the outdated bucket/crane method shown in all of their and the local newspapers photos?  Or will they be required to use the more modern hydraulic units (as 'described' on your site).

Is there a photo (or link to one) of this newer style of dredging posted on your site? 

I think if the side countering G.E. would have a serious rational description with photos of this current technology, it would be of great help.

After all, that bright orange bucket with slime dripping out is pretty 'scary'.

A newcomer to Albany,

Charles E. Keller <keller@datasync.com>
Albany, New York
Saturday, 9 December 2000

[Editor's Note: Many thanks to Mr. Keller for his excellent suggestion.  Diagrams and photos of some state-of-the-art dredging equipment can now be viewed on this Web site. Please Click Here!]

'Maybe you should thank' G.E.

To the Editor of HudsonWatch.net --
I think people like you take for granted the monumental contributions General Electric has made to our society and our way of life.  Many towns and cities in upstate New York wouldn't even be on the map if it weren't for the economic opportunites provided by G.E.. So many of the things we as a nation of consumers use have been provided by G.E..

G.E. is responsible for the widespread use of air conditioning, jet engines, low rates on car insurance, not to mention providing our Navy with essential parts for its submarines.  We can't forget things like the light bulb, the monitor-top refrigerator, and the synthetic diamond.

Anyone who watches N.B.C. or any of its affiliates can thank General Electric for that too.

In times of war, General Electric has supplied our nation with jet aircraft, and many other services and products without which our military probably wouldn't be the same. In time of peace, G.E. has invested in our communities by bringing with it thousands of jobs. 

My point is that maybe you should be thankful that G.E. built a plant in Hoosick Falls. Maybe, instead of taking an extreme left-wing socialist view of the situation, you should take a more realistic view; a view that doesn't focus on the environment, but on the people; not just a majority of the people, but all the individuals that make up our nation.

Remember G.E. is at least a part of all our communities, if not the backbone. Instead of attacking G.E. for hurting a river, maybe you
should thank it for breathing life into upstate New York.

Michael Fogarty <mfogarty@MauiMail.com>
Tuesday, 28 November 2000

'Dilution is not the solution to pollution'

To the Editor of HudsonWatch.net --
I was listening to yesterday's 'Roundtable' call-in program broadcast over radio station WAMC-FM, Albany. The last caller was seriously in error.  There is no way the Hudson will clean itself in 10 years.  It hasn't in the past 50 years, or the last 23 since PCB's were banned.  PCB's are persistent.  To break the toxic cycle of bioaccumulation, evaporation and atmospheric transport, the PCB's must be removed by environmental dredging and treated, or at least safely contained.  As other callers noted this is primarily hydraulic dredging (removal by vacuum suction).

When G.E. says the river is "cleaning itself up", the truth is that PCB's are being dispersed into the environment, moving downriver, out to the ocean, and into the biosphere.  A very small percentage of heavily chlorinated PCB molecules are transformed by bacterial activity slowly over time to less chlorinated forms, which are still toxic, but are more mobile.  Dilution is not the solution to pollution!  Remediation is.

It has been estimated that it would take at least 50 years for the fish to be safe to eat without remediation, but that fish advisories could be lifted in as few as 2 - 3 years after dredging is completed, based actual experience with similar cleanups.

Glad to see most of your listeners "get it" and do not buy G.E.'s intentionally misleading multimillion dollar advertising campaign.  Wish G.E. had the wisdom to put these resources into remediation rather than into trying to sway public opinion.  The good thing about their ad campaign is that it has got people asking the right questions.

Happy holidays.

Manna Jo Greene <Mannajo@aol.com>
Environmental Director
Hudson River Sloop Clearwater
Wednesday, 22 November 2000

Questions G.E.'s anti-dredge ads showing clam bucket instead of suction

To the Editor of HudsonWatch.net --
Thanks for your informative Web page!  It made it easy for me to ask several important people why G.E. advertises cleaning the Hudson with a clam bucket instead of a suction tube.  Hope all goes well.

Paul Stewart 
Tuesday, 7 November 2000

[Editor's Note: To see diagrams and photos of some state-of-the-art dredging equipment, please Click Here!]

Postcards from 
the (dr)edge

To the Editor of HudsonWatch.net --
Greetings from the Hudson River!

Harold Lohner <HLohner@aol.com>
821 Park Avenue
Albany, New York 12208
Tuesday, 24 October 2000

G.E. injured 'my children's environment'

To the Editor of HudsonWatch.net --
As a lifelong resident of upstate New York I am thoroughly disgusted by General Electric's ad campaign against cleaning the Hudson. 

First, the simple fact is they injured my and my children's environment.

Second, if they are so concerned about the effects of dredging, why don't they put the equivalent dollars into a trust fund for parks and recreation for communities along the Hudson.  I bet they won't like that.

Third, will G.E.'s corporate chief swim in the Hudson, eat the fish in the water, drink the water?

I ask you to protect my family and their families and not the greed of G.E.'s management. I want to say thanks for standing up against G.E. and its corporate greed.

Todd Kerner <tmksmd@nycap.rr.com>
Clifton Park, New York 
Saturday, 14 October 2000

Dear G.E. Board,

To the Editor of HudsonWatch.net --
Thanks!  I just used your Web site to send this letter of disgust to Board members with e-mail!  Feel free to share.

Cathy McEneny <Cmceneny@aol.com>
Delmar, New York 
Tuesday, 3 October 2000 

Attachment: Forwarded Message

From: Cmceneny@aol.com
Date: Tue, 3 Oct 2000 21:12:22 EDT

Subject: Your "WHY DREDGE NOW?"  newspaper advertisement

To: andrea.jung@avon.com;

..... ran in my local (Albany) TIMES UNION on Sunday, October 1.

I am a stockholder, and my husband and I are THOROUGHLY disgusted by the expensive, public opinion campaign G.E. is waging to settle what is essentially a public health issue.

But your latest ad is the most offensive.  It attempts to lead the reader by induction to the (unstated) conclusion that the Hudson should not be dredged. 

But the arguments offered are irrelevant, invalid, or simply untrue, to wit:

The water is clearer - compared to what?  This does not appear to be a valid argument for not dredging.

The swimming is safe - Not true, except perhaps in northern stretches of the 300 mile river.  It certainly isn't safe to swim for most of the 
river's length because the water is class C, essentially sewer water.

The herons are nesting - Irrelevant, though the implication seems to be some healthy connection with the "clearer" Hudson.

The boaters are everywhere - Irrelevant again.  Is this a veiled threat that the boaters will NOT be everywhere if the river is dredged?

The bald eagle is soaring - Irrelevant again.  This is emotional pandering at its worst!  What sillyness!

The tubing is great - see swimming above.  It wouldn't be safe to tube in most of the river south of Glens Falls due to its width, depth, or current, 
even if it weren't so polluted.

The fish are getting bigger - Irrelevant and invalid as a persuasive argument.  And what is the implication of this statement?  Is it that 
the fish have been getting bigger since G.E. stopped pumping PCB's into the river?  The fish aren't even edible!

For months, G.E. has been trying to convince the public that MANY people along the Hudson don't want drudging, when in fact G.E. has identified SOME people who don't seem to want dredging.  Waging such a campaign when G.E.'s interest is so one-sided is WRONG, and people are starting to react negatively. 

I have heard people who didn't know or care about the issue express amazement at the amount of money G.E. is spending on its campaign.  Hopefully, your investment will be returned in the form of public backlash.

As a stockholder, I am shocked and dismayed at the campaign.  If G.E. fouled the river, it should pay to clean it up.  And yes, I know it will affect 


Cathy McEneny (Mrs. Terence)
20 Bartlett Lane
Delmar, New York  12054

Disgusted with G.E.'s misleading ads

To the Editor of HudsonWatch.net --
Thank you!!  I have been totally disgusted with the misleading advertising that G.E. has produced and runs constantly. 

They pretend they are doing the environmental thing and are really trying to avoid paying the money and fixing the problems. I will look over your website and write to the appropriate people. 

Thank you for providing the Web site that will make it easier for people like me to do the right thing!

Laurie Keefe <lkeefe@nycap.rr.com> 
Monday, 2 October 2000

Boycotts G.E. due to environmental neglect & corporate arrogance 

To the Editor of HudsonWatch.net --
Thattaboy! Always a treat to see someone taking on the corporate/political scalliwags. 

That's some awesome shit!  (I'm printing it out as I write for more intensive scrutiny.)

I've been boycotting G.E. for many years, due to their long history of environmental neglect and corporate arrogance.

Robert Dubrow <kimchee99@mediaone.net>
Saturday, 30 September 2000

"When the river 'cleanses itself', where do they think it goes?"

To the Editor of HudsonWatch.net --
Your site is to be commended.  Information which, if we had the money G.E. has, could hire Behan Communications to promote it.  We have had several e-mail campaigns on your issue.

I have personally asked G.E. to address our group (which they did), to listen to their side of
this topic. Very professional presentation.  Would sway a lot of people.  Behan Communications are professional speakers.  Very good at what they do.
Would have you believing it's raining when they spit in your face.

It's been a tough fight.  We are just a bunch of fishermen from Jersey. When G.E. says the river is 'cleansing itself', we get its PCB's.  We develop health restrictions on our fish.

When the River 'cleanses itself', where do they think it goes?

We welcome your site as a breath of fresh air in the struggle. I will work to promote your site off ours.

Keep up the good work.

Charles Stamm, <'////><
Director / Webmaster
Hudson River Fishermen's Association --
New Jersey Chapter
Thursday, September 28, 2000

G.E.'s latest ad (with a few amendments) 

To the Editor of HudsonWatch.net --
The Water is Clearer – because you can’t see the PCB's – clear doesn’t mean clean. 

The Swimming is Safe - for dredge operators wearing scuba diving wet suits. 

The Herons are Nesting – on PCB-laden eggs.

The Boaters are Everywhere – but they can’t eat the fish they catch. 

The Bald Eagle is Soaring – with incredibly high levels of PCB's in their blood. 

The Tubing is Great – but would be greater without the threat of PCB's. 

The Fish are Getting Bigger – with more PCB's accumulated in their fat, posing serious health risks to those who consume them. 

The Hudson is Back – except for the PCB stigma that remains.

* * * * 
And who and what gave G.E. the right to take it all away in the first place? 

Why dredge now? 

So that the water will be cleaner – not just clearer.
So that swimming will pose less health risks.
So that the herons can nest without the threat of PCB's.
So that boaters can fish and safely eat their catch.
So that the eagle can reproduce and thrive free of PCB's.
So PCB's will be less of a threat to tubers (including potatoes).
So that the fish can get bigger without PCB's, and those that consume the fish can have a reduced risk of cancer and other health effects. 


(The Hudson is back because of millions of taxpayer dollars that have been spent on pollution control over the past 30 years. Meanwhile, G.E. has done nothing to remove the PCBs from the Hudson. G.E.'s PCB's remain a threat in the Hudson River and need to be removed.)

Thursday, September 28, 2000

Dufty: Being the same as G.E.?

To the Editor of HudsonWatch.net --
I would like to respond to certain statements in Ken Dufty's article ("Selling deception, the G.E. way,"  HudsonWatch.net, January 23, 2001):

"Fact:  G.E.'s statement is simply untrue. The history of remediation in other rivers and lakes around the nation and the world proves that hydraulic suction dredging is safe, non-invasive, and something which can be conducted while recreation on the waterway continues unimpeded."
How COULD Mr. Dufty term hydraulic suction as NON-INVASIVE?  The whole purpose of hydraulic suction is to invade the river bottom to get at the PCB's.  I hate to say that Mr. Dufty's stupidity with words is only surpassed by his lack of offering a possible alternative to the dredging.  Complain about G.E. not wanting to dredge, but don't dare to come up with, and offer an alternative. 

What are Mr. Dufty's experiences working with hydraulic suction dredges?  "Safe" for whom or what?  The fish, the plant life?  I take it that Mr. Dufty must then know of a non-invasive liposuction that would bring tens of thousands of people to our area to have it done.

Where did Mr. Dufty's "history" come from?  He didn't list even one for a comparative.  Probably he was thinking of the hydraulic mining that is being done in South America on the Amazon River and its tributaries for gold.  I am sure that those are as non-invasive and helpful to the river's ecosystem as Mr. Dufty's envisioning.  He must think that anyone will believe these things that he is spewing because he got someone to print it. 

"There are over 30 areas where concentrated oily PCB's are available to the river's ecosystem. Unless these contaminated sediments are removed from the river, levels of PCB's in fish are expected to be many times the threshold deemed safe for human consumption for more than 70 years."
Nice to say that there are 30 locations, but Mr. Dufty failed to document where they are hidden. I find very little difference between the making of the Love Canal disaster with what Mr. Dufty is promoting. Love Canal was given to Buffalo to be kept in perpertuity as a PARK, not as a housing development!  Misguided do-gooders pressured politicians to create more housing in an area that had been set to be a park. There was no danger of what happened until the top five feet of ground was disturbed.  The rest is history.  Big business got the bad rap for Love Canal and Mr. Dufty is trying to do the same thing to G.E.. 

Since he is the executive director of the Rensselaer County Environmental Management Council, and a founding member and former president of Concerned Citizens for the Environment, I am surprised that Mr. Dufty has not learned from government's past boondoggles of environmental issues.  The U.S. Forest Service's fire that almost burned down our national nuclear laboratory, and the tinder-box conditions that the Service created, and hence led up to the fires in Yellowstone a few years ago, apparently failed to teach Mr. Dufty anything. 

From what Mr. Dufty shows, G.E.'s plans look good.  He is the one selling the deception, not G.E..

Fred Cooper <lostchic@juno.com>
Stillwater, N.Y.
Tuesday, 6 February 2001

P.S.  I have no affiliation with G.E., other than a coffee maker with the Company's name on it.

It must be the onset of Spring

To the Editor of HudsonWatch.net --
Surprise!  We just sent the following Yahoo! Greeting to the heads of G.E.!


Wednesday, 7 February 2001


To: jeffrey immelt

How stupid do you think we are?

You should be spending that ad campaign money on cost effective clean up, because we will make sure this proposal passes!

(We sent this to the heads of G.E.)

Lawn Signs, etc.

To the Editor of HudsonWatch.net --
Great web site! 

I was looking for a place that I could get lawn signs that favor The Clean Up. The G.E.-sponsored anti-signs are popping up everywhere and it makes me sick. 

I live less than a mile from the Hudson River in Easton and would like to put up some signs showing that I am in favor of cleaning-up the Hudson. 


Ed Sharp <Ed@SharpPhoto.com>
Tuesday, 30 January 2001

(Editor's Note:  Yes!  Lawn signs, like buttons, lapel stickers, and of course bumper stickers [see the letter immediately below], are definitely available. Sierra Club is currently offering all of these free of charge while supplies last.  Lawn signs may be picked-up at Sierra Club's Saratoga Springs office at 85 Washington Street, Saratoga Springs, N.Y..  For more information, please contact Sierra Club at telephone: 518.587.9166, or via e-mail at: ne-ny.field@sierraclub.org).

Bumper Stickers

To the Editor of HudsonWatch.net --
Is there any place to get bumper stickers for ANTI-dredging?  I've only seen the PRO ones.

Crista Leigh <cobainluver@hotmail.com>
Tuesday, 30 January 2001

(Editor's Note: Yes! Bumper stickers are definitely available. Sierra Club currently offers two different message styles. (One is pictured below. The other, a la Got Milk?, reads: Got PCB's?)  To obtain yours free of charge, contact Sierra Club at telephone: 518.587.9166, or via e-mail at: ne-ny.field@sierraclub.org).

'It's New York! Everything is supposed to be dirty'

To the Editor of HudsonWatch.net --
Clean the river!  Better sell that G.E. stock, pal.  Dredge time starts soon. I'm sure you'll be able to make money off something else. 

I don't know why people are against cleaning a river. Oh yeah, I forgot, it's New York! Everything is supposed to be dirty.

Wednesday, 13 December 2000 

How degrading

To the Editor of HudsonWatch.net --
This is old news, but you never know! Originally thought to be indestructible and non-biodegradable, scientific research has discovered two complementary classes of bacteria that biodegrade PCB's:

Anaerobic bacteria, which lives only in airless environments (the muck at the bottom of the river), remove chlorine from even the most highly chlorinated PCB's.

The resultant lightly chlorinated compounds are then completely degraded by aerobic bacteria

This was discovered right here in River City over ten years ago (see ref.).

Is this being used to help speed the biodegradation of the PCB's in the Hudson?

(Ref.: D.A. Abramowicz, & S.B. Hamilton, Article, “Biodegradation of PCB's,” Environmental Contractor Magazine (ECON), January 1990.)

Thank you,

Ann Cotrupi <anncotru@nycap.rr.com>
Burnt Hills, New York
Tuesday, 5 December 2000

G.E.'s Hemstreet Park landfill:
You can cover it up, but.....

To the Editor of HudsonWatch.net --
I do not know what we can do, but some of the people here in the Hemstreet Park area would like to do something.  G.E. should be made to clean up the mess it made. 

To me, it is just like any other landfill -- you can cover it up, but that does not make it go away.

Gene Lee <Andeesguy@aol.com>
Mechanicville, New York
Sunday, 26 November 2000

G.E.'s Man(tras)

To the Editor of HudsonWatch.net --
Yesterday, I heard comments from General Electric spokesman Mark Behan broadcast on radio station WAMC-FM, Albany. In soothing tones, Mr. Behan made statements like: "The Hudson River is healing itself."

Translation, please!  When examined, this phrase means that G.E. intends to do absolutely nothing about the toxics currently drifting about the bottom of the river. 

Another mantra of Mr. Behan's is the "PCB levels have decreased by 90%" refrain.  At their current levels in the river, PCB's are rendering the fish unfit for human consumption, a situation which the "natural healing process" will take 50 years to rectify, according to G.E.. 

Yes, levels have been 90 % higher than they are now; that was before G.E. was forced to stop actively dumping the chemicals into the river. Ten percent of a toxic mess is still a toxic mess. 

Targeted suction removal of contaminated hotspots could reduce levels and reopen a Hudson River fishery within 2-3 years after completion. 

The E.P.A. is going to require a cleanup. And at that point, Mr. Behan, what G.E. did to the Hudson River, they're going to do to you.  It's not too late to come over to our side, Mr. Behan!  Let's talk!


Sarah Underhill <pmnsfs@hvi.net>
A concerned Hudson Valley resident
Friday, 10 November 2000 

P.S. Attached is a little missive to the corporate hq that I wrote recently:

Attachment: Forwarded Message

To:  Board of Directors, General Electric Company 

Subject:  G.E. postcard campaign

I am writing as a concerned citizen of the Hudson Valley to urge you to use your influence as a G.E. board member to help G.E. to become a responsible corporate steward of the Hudson River, our beautiful national treasure.

As you are undoubtedly aware, G.E. pollution of the Hudson with PCB's has yet to be remediated, and G.E.'s policy is to take no further action to clean up large deposits of PCB's in the riverbed. I'm asking you to reexamine this policy in the knowledge that you are in a position of leadership in one  of the world's most powerful entities. 

As you are able to outspend state and federal governments and hire armies of lawyers and public relations people to achieve your goals, you also bear a responsibility to the people and the planet that you hold so much sway over. In this age of corporatocracy, hark back to the tenets of democracy and use your vast resources to leave this planet a better place for your having been here. The public perception is that PCB's are toxic and hazardous. It is the will of the people that they be cleaned up, and it is your duty as a just leader to do the people's will.

I think all of us wish that the PCB problem would "just go away". We wish it never happened in the first place. But it doesn't take a rocket scientist and a pricey study to figure out that if PCB's are dredged out, eventually levels in the river, the fish and the air will go down and stay down. My question is this: isn't it morally G.E.'s civic duty to clean up a hazard it created, especially when it can well afford to do so?  Doesn't morality and the common good take precedence?

Do the right thing, Mr./Ms. Board member. You owe the citizens of your corporate kingdom a clean environment, and history will judge your leadership by the actions you take.


Sarah Underhill <underhval@hvi.net>

Wants to believe dredging will solve  Hudson's PCB problem

To the Editor of HudsonWatch.net --
I was rather disappointed when I visited hudson-voice.org. I was hoping to be led right into the main reason why we SHOULD have dredging. 

I want to know the science (in layman's terms) about PCB's that lie deep in the Hudson, the effect they will have on my life and that of my children and their children. 

FOCUS on and get to the REAL heart of the issue: that the dredging will save lives, improve our quality of life, and that of our children. 

NO ONE WANTS TO WASTE THEIR TIME reading, and listening to someone go on and on about G.E.'s lack of responsibility. They make a lot good points on their Web site and on the commercials. You need to stop bashing G.E. and address the ISSUE. 

Show us the science of PCB impact and great benefits of dredging technology, show that it's safe and effective and efficient and the public will begin to turn against G.E. for their defiance. 

I WANT TO BELIEVE THAT DREDGING WILL SOLVE THE PROBLEM - SO PROVE IT TO ME, and everyone else that visits your Web site.  Then you'll have the support of the public, otherwise, I can only conclude, from G.E.'s information, that we'd better off just to let nature take its course and bury the PCB's. 

Given the cancer causing characteristic, isn't it best just to leave them to be buried deeper and deeper each year, and what if dredging causes PCB's to wash ashore near farmland, is that an issue? 

Prove to me and everyone that dredging WILL SOLVE THE PROBLEM. 

Thank you.

Mark J. Delay <mjdelay1@aol.com>
Saratoga / Albany, New York 
Sunday, 29 October 2000

G.E. replies

To the Editor of HudsonWatch.net --
I contacted G.E. via e-mail about the matter of the Hudson River. After sending the following e-mail to G.E.'s vice-chairman, I received the following reply. I thought both might be of interest to you.

Terry Boudreau <terrybou@hotmail.com>
Middletown, New York
Wednesday, 18 October 2000

Attachment: Forwarded Message

From: Terry Boudreau <terrybou@hotmail.com>
To: dennis.dammerman@corporate.ge.com
Subject: Hudson River
Date: Tues, 17 Oct 2000 

Dear Mr. Dammerman,

I am very concerned about the Hudson River, and would like you to explain to me how a river is supposed to heal itself.

It seems like G.E. is trying to financially minimize its responsibility around this matter. 

Your response and comments would be appreciated.

Terry Boudreau

From: John Haggard <john.haggard@hudsonwatch.com>
To: <terrybou@hotmail.com>
Subject: Hudson River Recovery
Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2000 17:24:39 -0400 

Oct. 18, 2000

Terry Boudreau
via e-mail

Dear Terry,

Mr. Dammerman asked me to reply to your e-mail regarding the Hudson River’s recovery.

GE’s clean-up projects and the river’s own natural restorative powers have helped reduce PCB levels in water and fish by 90 percent since 1977. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has declared the river safe for swimming, wading and boating, New York State has opened a catch and release fishery and tourism is thriving.

EPA shortly will be completing a reassessment of the Upper Hudson. EPA’s goal, shared by New York State and GE, is to determine what, if any, steps can be taken to further reduce PCB levels in fish. EPA is focused on this question because fish are considered the primary means by which people could be exposed to PCBs. The dramatic declines in PCB levels in fish that we have seen so far are a
direct result of two processes: first, the river’s
natural recovery process in which the river has
buried old PCB deposits with up to a foot, in some cases more, of cleaner sediment, and second, GE’s successful campaign to prevent PCBs on shore from reaching the river. This allows the first process to work even more effectively.

GE believes that the best way to continue the
progress on the Hudson is to continue with the
current clean-up strategy, which has been shown to be effective, rather than resort to dredging, which has a poor record of effectiveness in other waterways and has been shown to cause long-term environmental damage to the ecology of waterways.

GE’s conclusion is based, in part, on a
computerized model of the Hudson that was built to forecast future river conditions. The model uses more than 16,000 pieces of data collected on the Hudson over the past 20 years. The model has been submitted to the state and federal regulatory agencies, and the key component of the model was recently published in a peer-reviewed technical journal.

GE’s model shows that over the next 30 years,
assuming current conditions continue, most of the reduction in the PCBs in the river’s sediments (97 percent), will come from the natural burial process (87 percent) and from GE’s program of preventing more PCBs from getting into the river (10 percent) vs. dredging, which would achieve only a 3 percent reduction.

GE’s concern with dredging also extends to the
environmental risks of this approach. In 1984, EPA considered dredging the Upper Hudson River to remove PCBs, but rejected the option because it said environmental conditions were improving, dredging was an unreliable technology and a bank-to-bank dredging project "could be environmentally devastating to the river ecosystem and cannot be considered to adequately protect the environment."

In an Upper Hudson dredging project, vital aquatic habitat — sub-aquatic vegetation beds — will be destroyed. Because these beds are a critical component of the food chain, the productivity of the thriving Upper Hudson fishery will be reduced. How long it will take the Upper Hudson to recover is not known, nor is it certain that the recovery will be complete.

While the risks of dredging are understood and
widely accepted, the purported benefits of
dredging are in serious question. Where dredging has been tried, there is compelling evidence that it did not achieve the specified reductions in PCB levels. In the River Raisin in Michigan, a dredging project failed to achieve the specified reductions in PCB levels in sediments in three of four areas. In the St. Lawrence River in northern New York, dredging sought to reduce PCB levels to 1 part per million in sediment but instead left 3 to 27 parts per million. In the Manistique River in Michigan, despite five years of dredging, the specified level of 10 parts per million of PCBs in sediment still has not been achieved.

What is especially notable is that, in many places were dredging has been tried, the PCB level in sediment left behind after dredging is higher than the PCB level in sediments in the Upper Hudson today.

I hope this information provides a clear
explanation of GE’s position on this important
matter. If we can provide further information,
please call me at 518-862-2739 or Mark Behan at 518-792-3856.

John G. Haggard
GE Hudson River Project Manager

'Good science'

To the Editor of HudsonWatch.net --
I've read your Web site info on the dredging issue.  The only part I take issue with is your general scorn regarding "good science."  There actually is such a thing, you know, and it concerns me to think you don't seem to value its importance. 

Have you actually talked with any of the scientists at the R&D Center about this--regarding the pros
and cons?  They are people of integrity and should be consulted and brought into the equation. 

If I ruled the world personally, I wouldn't dream of devising a plan without their input and knowledge. 

Thank you,

Ann Cotrupi <anncotru@nycap.rr.com>
Thursday, 12 October 2000

3 points to remember:
G.E.'s sordid PCB history

To the Editor of HudsonWatch.net --
First let me thank you for helping to get the word out about G.E. and its campaign of lies. You take an interesting approach to the issue as a 

I think all of G.E.'s shareholders have a right to be outraged at how they have handled their toxic legacy. I live in Albany and every time I see one of those full-page ads or expertly-polished commercials, I feel queasy.

I hope that you have read "The Riverkeepers" by John Cronin and Robert Kennedy, Jr.. (Editor's Note: Amazon.com  --  Barnes & Noble.com)

If you're looking for more material to write about you may want to consider the following points raised in said book:

1) The Monsanto Company, which was the only manufacturer of PCB's, warned G.E. that PCB's were environmentally harmful. G.E. felt that the welfare and human rights of the residents of the Hudson Valley were insignificant, and disregarded Monsanto's warnings.

2) Before the PCB issue was exposed in the media in the early 1970's, G.E. disguised its PCB discharges by renaming the chemical "pyranol".

3) In an early case, G.E.'s star expert, Dr. Gerald Lauer was forced to admit that his results, which "showed" that fish caught near the plants were 
not contaminated, were indeed falsified (a decimal point was "misplaced").

Good luck with the Web site and getting the message out.

Jeff O'Donnell <hamsinnrocks@hotmail.com>
Tuesday, 3 October 2000

Do Not Dredge! 
G.E. is doing its share--
NY State Gov't is partly to blame for allowing this to begin with

To the Editor of HudsonWatch.net --
This letter is in response to your Web page. First of all, I do believe that there are still levels of PCBs in the river, and I do believe that when they say the levels are low, they are. I know this as a good friend that I trust has been testing the water and would not lie to me.

Second of all, I grew up in the area which was very polluted. The river has cleaned up magnificently over time and to dredge would make the problem worse. First, where are they going
to put the dredged material? Oh yeah, in someone's back yard, good idea. Secondly, it would destroy recreation on the river for who knows how long no one is for sure. 

Oh, by the way, let's not forget what G.E. has already done, at great expense for something the state of New York had said it was okay to do-- dump PCBs in the river. I am no rocket
scientist, but I do know oil and water don't mix. 

G.E. has built a multimillion dollar water treatment facility to stop new contaminants from entering the river, and this facility will continue to be operated for many years--big $$$$.

They have corrected problems where it make sense such as removing top soil and replacing the contaminated soil with clean soil--more $$$$. This made sense as the levels in the soil were high. My friend who worked there also told me this, and later when I saw that they were removing the top soil that what he told me was correct.

I believe that people who do not live near the affected area should not say that G.E. is not doing what it should and where you live is not affected by the dredging. 

I believe this Web site tries to slam the General Electric Company for something that they were permitted to do by the State of New York. 

Yes, it's a tragedy that the river was polluted by a
corporation dumping contaminants into the river, but I believe G.E. is doing its share and I do not think that they are totally responsible, government is partly to blame for allowing this to begin with. 

I believe the dredging issue to be related more to some company making big money from dredging than an issue of cleaning up the river. After all,
its easy for me to tell someone to take their garbage to your house and dump it, because I don't live near there and won't smell the stench or inherit any new problems from the wrong action. 

I think its wrong to accuse G.E. of changing their Web site just because someone puts up one similar to their site. 

No Dredging! It is bad for the river. Let mother nature do her work, as I have already seen the good that time has done over the past years. I can see the bottom, which was not possible when I was a child. 

Oh, by the way, I am not an employee of G.E. or affiliated with them.

John Gibson <mrjfgjr@capital.net>
Tuesday, 3 October 2000

G.E. desperate to avoid NRD lawsuit

To the Editor of HudsonWatch.net --
Seems good from the outside, but as I know G.E. all too well, why haven't YOU mentioned the higher stakes game of G.E.'s desperate bid to avoid an N.R.D. (Natural Resources Damages) lawsuit?????  This is far more important to G.E. than simply dredging.

You will have credibility from those who know when you decide to post this important issue on your website. 

P.S. And, if what I suspect is true, that your site is sponsored by G.E., then you all know who I am. Conversely, if you decide to post the N.R.D. issue, then I will remain anonymous.

Sunday, 1 October 2000

Editor's Note:  For more information on NRD, please click on the following websites:

U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) --
Damage Assessment and Restoration Program:

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) --
Hudson River Assessment:
Hudson River Preassessment Screen:

'Madison Ave. science'

To the Editor of HudsonWatch.net --
I am the environmental director of the Hudson River Fishermen's Association New Jersey Chapter. We are a group of 300, or so, anglers dedicated to the preservation of the Hudson River. I can speak for our membership that we applaud your efforts to make G.E. accountable for its pollution of the river. A visit to our web page
www.hrfanj.org will attest to the fight we have had with G.E. and the "Madison Ave. science" its corporate brain trust has perpetrated on
society. We have followed G.E.'s execs. into schools, with power point presentations, spreading their campaign of mis-truths and lies to children all the while representing themselves as environmentalists.

I'm sure there are many war stories in this fight. Around each bend is another revelation as to "How stupid do they think we are?" tactic like declaring stripped bass safe to eat by measuring the PCBs in the fillets only or backing the commercial fishermen on the river by legalizing the sale of the bycatch (striped bass) of shad netting to prove that the fish in the river are clean.

As editor of the environmental Web page I will headline your page and ask our readers to "get it straight ". Once again you have our support.

GIL HAWKINS, Environmental Director
Hudson River Fishermen's Association --
New Jersey Chapter
Thursday, September 28, 2000

Additional Letters to the Editor

To the Editor at HudsonWatch.net --
I work at EnCon and somebody just clued me in to your Web site. 

You guys are able to say what we want to say, but are not allowed to say. 

Keep up the fight! 

Name Withheld by Request 
Friday, 12 January 2001

To the Editor of HudsonWatch.net --
Thanks for all the information. 

I needed to hear more about all this, not just the ads on TV, radio, city buses, etc..

Enough to make me decide for the bald eagles, herons, fish, all of us. 


Saturday, 6 January 2001

To the Editor of HudsonWatch.net -- 
Outstanding site!  Terrific job on the updates.

Robert L. Henrickson <rlhe@localnet.com>
East Nassau, New York
(Nassau Union of Concerned Citizens / Village of East Nassau)
Sunday, 10 December 2000

To the Editor of HudsonWatch.net --

Re: Did G.E.'s Welch lie to '60 Minutes'?
I am a huge fan of your site!  Am spreading the word about it through our campus networks.

I wrote a letter to the editor of '60 minutes' about the PCB segment.  Fingers crossed they run it!


Laura Haight <LHaight@nypirg.org>
Senior Environmental Associate
107 Washington Avenue
Albany, New York 12210
Telephone: (518) 436-0876, ext. 258
Fax: (518) 432-6178 
Thursday, 2 November 2000

To the Editor of HudsonWatch.net --
Today, The Glens Falls Post-Star (http://www.poststar.com) started running on-line ads for G.E.'s hudsonvoice site (in the on-line Saratogian as well). 

Kind of omnipresent-type ads right in character with the company.

Good luck!

Mike Huggins <mhuggins@wpinc.com>
Irvine, California (formerly of Washington County, New York)
Wednesday, 4 October 2000 

Editor's Note:  The following is one of G.E.'s advertisements on The Glens Falls Post-Star Web site:

Click here to find out more

The above advertisement is reproduced here without permission.

Please contact the Editors at The Post-Star and at The Saratogian to let them know how you feel about G.E., the Hudson River, PCB's, and G.E.'s ad campaign against dredging. 

The Post-Star --
Letters to the Editor
Editorial Department
P.O. Box 2157
Glens Falls, New York 12801
E-mail The Post-Star via their Web site at:
<a href="http://www.poststar.com/comments/elet_form.shtml" target="Resource Windo