HudsonWatch.net Editor's Note:
The following are two different versions of the same article published in The New York Times dated Saturday, September 30, 2000.  The first is the print version which appeared in The Times' 'Metro' Section on page B5 of the Early and Late Morning Editions.  The second is the Internet version which appears on The Times' Web site.  Both are reproduced below on HudsonWatch.net/Hudson-Voice.com without permission from The Times' publisher. 
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Technologytoolbar
 
(Printed Version -- 'Metro' Section, page B5 -- Early and Late Morning Editions)
September 30, 2000
 
 

 
 
 

G.E. Switches Its Web Site About PCB's

 
By KIRK JOHNSON


Three letters. On the surface, that's the only difference between Hudsonwatch.com and Hudsonwatch.net -- two Web sites devoted to the subject of the General Electric Company and the controversy over PCB pollution in the Hudson River.

But appearances are deceiving. The dot-com site, run by General Electric for the last several years, is stocked with scientific reports and glossy pictures that are part of the company's multimillion-dollar campaign to convince people that dredging the Hudson to remove PCB's is neither necessary nor wise.

The dot-net site, set up two weeks ago for about $24 by a disgruntled G.E. shareholder, is essentially an anticompany screed stuffed with every reason why the company should be forced to dredge the Hudson at an estimated cost of $1 billion.

But this week, television viewers and newspaper readers in upstate New York were told that what had become a familiar Internet address in G.E.'s advertising had changed. On Thursday, Hudsonwatch.com became Hudsonvoice.com. Typing in Hudsonvoice.com will take a Web surfer to the identical site as the old Hudsonwatch.com.

A spokesman for G.E., Mark L. Behan, said the name change was strategic and had been planned for much longer than the two weeks of the competing dot-net site's existence. "It's a change in the emphasis of our advertising program," Mr. Behan said. "We hope that people will speak out about Hudson River issues, and we want to point out that now is the time to do it. That's the reason for the change in the name -- that's the exclusive reason for the change in the name."

But the owner of Hudsonwatch.net, Glenn Heller, a self-described wild man, who trades stocks and fixes up antique cars for a living, claimed victory. He said that in this case a guy with nothing but a soapbox and a diatribe had won out over a big budget message.

"G.E. blinked," he said.

PCB's, or polychlorinated biphenyls, were used for years in making electrical components. An estimated one million pounds of the chemical, which has been linked to cancer in humans and reproductive problems in wildlife, was discharged by G.E.'s factories into the Hudson River over 30 years. The river bottom was designated a federal Superfund site in 1983.

This summer and fall, the company has been spending at least $2 million a week on its anti-dredging advertising campaign, according to estimates by Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, a private conservation group. A final decision by the United States Environmental Protection Agency is expected later this year on a cleanup plan for the river.

Copyright 2000 The New York Times Company


(Internet Version)
September 30, 2000
 

 
 

G.E. Switches Its Web Site About PCB's

 
By KIRK JOHNSON


Three letters. On the surface, that's the only difference between Hudsonwatch.com and another Web site, Hudsonwatch.net, both devoted to the subject of the General Electric Company and the controversy over PCB pollution in the Hudson River.

But appearances are deceiving. The dot-com site, run by General Electric for the last several years, is stocked with scientific reports and glossy pictures that are part of the company's multimillion-dollar campaign to convince people that dredging the Hudson to remove PCB's is neither necessary nor wise.

The dot-net site, set up two weeks ago for about $24 by a disgruntled G.E. shareholder, is essentially an anticompany screed stuffed with every reason why the company should be forced to dredge the Hudson at an estimated cost of $1 billion.

But this week, television viewers and newspaper readers in upstate New York were told that what had become a familiar Internet address in G.E.'s advertising had changed. On Thursday, Hudsonwatch.com became Hudsonvoice.com. Typing in Hudsonvoice.com will take a Web surfer to a site identical to the old Hudsonwatch.com.

A spokesman for G.E., Mark L. Behan, said the name change was strategic and had been planned for much longer than the two weeks of the competing dot-net site's existence. "It's a change in the emphasis of our advertising program," Mr. Behan said. "We hope that people will speak out about Hudson River issues, and we want to point out that now is the time to do it. That's the reason for the change in the name."

But the owner of Hudsonwatch.net, Glenn Heller, who trades stocks and fixes antique cars for a living, claimed victory. He said he had won out over a big-budget message. "G.E. blinked," he said.

PCB's, or polychlorinated biphenyls, were used for years in making electrical components. An estimated one million pounds of the chemical, which has been linked to cancer in humans and reproductive problems in wildlife, were discharged by G.E.'s factories into the Hudson for more than 30 years. The river bottom was designated a federal Superfund site in 1983.

G.E. has been spending at least $2 million a week on its antidredging campaign, said Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, a conservation group. 

Copyright 2000 The New York Times Company

 

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The two articles above are different versions of the same article published in the print and Internet editions of  The New York Times.  Both are reproduced here on HudsonWatch.net/Hudson-Voice.com without permission from The Times' publisher. 
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