Press Releases and Announcements of Interest
HudsonWatch.net & .org
The GE logo is a registered trademark - © 2002 General
Electric Company - and is used on this Web site without permission.
This Web site can best be
viewed using a Netscape browser. -
Scroll down to view the various press
To submit your organization's press release, click
SIGNS FINAL CLEANUP PLAN FOR HUDSON RIVER; MAKES PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT A TOP
Agency to Hold Public Meetings in Saratoga Springs and Poughkeepsie
FOR RELEASE: Friday, February 1, 2002
(#02005) New York, New York B U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Administrator Christie Whitman and Regional Administrator Jane Kenny
today took a major step toward a healthier Hudson River in signing the
Record of Decision (ROD) on a cleanup plan for the river. The final
plan calls for dredging 2.65 million cubic yards of contaminated sediment
from a 40-mile stretch of the upper Hudson to remove an estimated 150,000
pounds of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The Agency also announced
that it will establish a field office in the upper Hudson region staffed
by an experienced senior manager who will coordinate design activities
working with the community.
"The final cleanup plan illustrates this Administration's commitment
to safeguarding human health and the environment," said Whitman.
"The Hudson River is a national treasure and this plan brings us closer
to one of my overall goals -- leaving our water purer for future generations.
We are moving ahead with this cleanup using an open process and will incorporate
performance standards that promote accountability and ensure that we are
protecting human health and the environment."
"We are committing to an open process that will give affected communities
and interested parties the chance to comment on critical issues, such as
facility siting and the development of performance standards," said Kenny,
who heads EPA's Regional office responsible for carrying out the cleanup
plan. "Working through partnerships as we move forward with the cleanup
will ensure that we meet our environmental goals."
Before dredging can begin, EPA must prepare a design for the project.
This design phase, which will include the development of performance standards
and the siting of dewatering facilities in consultation with a broad range
of stakeholders, is expected to take about three years.
The ROD contains performance standards for air quality and noise, consistent
with state and federal law. Other important performance standards,
including those for resuspension and production rates during dredging,
will be developed over the next year with input from the public and in
consultation with the state and federal natural resource trustees. These
enforceable performance standards will be based on environmental and scientific
criteria to promote accountability and to ensure that the
cleanup meets the human health and environmental protection objectives
of the ROD.
The performance standards will be peer reviewed by a panel of independent
scientists before they are applied to the cleanup. EPA also will
conduct extensive monitoring throughout the life of the project to evaluate
whether the cleanup is achieving its intended environmental goals.
Dredging will eventually be conducted in two phases. The details
of where and how much sediment will be dredged during the first phase will
be worked out during the design. The control of continuing discharges
of PCBs into the river from General Electric facilities is also a concern.
General Electric is expected to take actions to control a major source
of PCBs coming from its Hudson Falls plant. Implementation of this
source control action is expected to begin during the design period for
EPA's cleanup plan.
A key element of the ROD is the commitment to a rigorous and meaningful
community involvement program for the Hudson River cleanup. Building
on the extensive public process followed during the Hudson River Reassessment,
the Agency will bring together elected officials, community groups, key
environmental organizations and members of the public to take a fresh look
at the community involvement process.
The development of a new community involvement program will be facilitated
by EPA consultants experienced in consensus building. They will conduct
interviews with groups and individuals to identify key stakeholders, assess
priority concerns and solicit suggestions for a new process. EPA will then
convene the groups and individuals identified by the consultants for a
series of facilitated sessions to develop a workable process. Jane Kenny
will host public meetings in Saratoga Springs and in Poughkeepsie to discuss
the ROD and discuss next steps.
EPA will continue to keep the public informed throughout the project.
The Agency has set up a list server, an electronic news service to notify
the public about meetings and other important milestones. The Agency
will hold frequent public meetings, distribute fact sheets and other written
materials and regularly update its Hudson River Web site. During the design
phase, the Agency will maintain regular contact with interested parties
to get input on key issues.
A 200-mile portion of the Hudson River was declared a federal Superfund
site in 1984 because of widespread PCB contamination. The PCBs have
bioaccumulated in fish and pose a potential risk of cancer and other health
problems for the people who eat them. The final ROD on a plan to
clean up the river was developed after years of scientific study and with
extensive public input.
EPA received more than 70,000 comments on the proposed cleanup plan.
The PCBs were deposited over a 30-year period from two General Electric
plants in Fort Edward and Hudson Falls, New York. EPA also reaffirmed its
commitment to a full public process that encourages meaningful discourse
on critical issues such as the development of performance standards, dewatering
facility siting and a range of issues with the potential to impact Hudson
Public meetings to explain the ROD and how the Agency will move forward
during the design phase will be held on February 13 at the Saratoga Sheraton
Hotel B 534 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 and on February 20 at
the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel, 40 Civic Center Plaza, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601.
Both meetings start at 7:00 p.m. Copies of the final Record of
Decision and a summary of responses to the 70,000 public comments are available
on EPA's Web site at www.epa.gov/hudson
and at the 16 information repositories (listed on the web site).
# # #
* Editor's Note: Another EPA Web site
with information is:
Immediate Release -- February 8, 2001
Contact: Pat Costner
P.O. Box 548
or 512 County Road 2663
Eureka Springs, Arkansas 72632
Key conclusion: Volatile losses from activities
involving dredging, dewatering and other remedial technologies (low temperature
thermal desorption, aerobic biodegradation, lime solidification, biopiles
and others) may result in the global redistribution of PCB's and other
Wunderlich, M., Scrudato, R., Falanga, L., 1998. Volatile losses and
global redistribution of PCB's during soil remediation. Presented at National
Conference on Environmental Remediation Science and Technology, Greensboro,
NC, Sept. 8-10, 1998.
Recent research by the Environmental Research Center and the University
at Albany School of Public Health indicates PCB's readily volatilize during
evaporative losses of water. These findings suggest significant quantities
of organic contaminants may be released to the atmosphere during remedial
measures involving excavation, dredging, dewatering and drying of contaminated
Laboratory experiments conducted by the Environmental Research Center
on PCB-contaminated sediments collected from New York Superfund sites and
air dried indicate 14-23% of the total PCB concentration can be lost through
volatilization at ambient temperature and relative humidity.
Rewetting the dried sediment resulted in an additional 7.5% loss. Volatile
losses of PCB's as high as 74-76% occurred in sediment samples suspended
in water which wre allowed to evaporate over a 7 day period. The lower
and ortho chlorinated congeners volatilized preferentially and the loss
was directly correlated to the evaporative loss of water.
These results have implications on the handling and remediation of PCB-contaminated
sediments with specific emphasis on the evaporative loss of water. Volatile
losses from activities involving dredging, dewatering and other remedial
technologies (low temperature thermal desorption, aerobic biodegradation,
lime solidification, biopiles and others) may result in the global redistribution
of PCB's and other organic contaminants.
# # #
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
-- Wednesday, December 6, 2000
SOURCE: The General Electric Company
Contact Persons: Mark
L. Behan (518) 792-3856
Beth Comstock (203) 373-3871
EPA's Absurd Dredging
Proposal Sets Course for Environmental Devastation of Hudson River
ALBANY, N.Y. - December
6, 2000 - EPA's proposal today charts a course of environmental devastation
for the Upper Hudson River for a generation or more. The proposal is absurd.
EPA has willfully
ignored its own finding in 1984 that a massive dredging program like the
one proposed today would be "devastating to the river ecosystem." This
proposal makes no sense because, as people who live near the river know,
the Hudson is dramatically cleaner today than it was when EPA rejected
dredging sixteen years ago.
This outrageous proposal
by EPA bureaucrats - to "save" the river by destroying it - is not supported
by science or reality:
EPA also has ignored
the objections of more than 60 Hudson Valley communities that have opposed
dredging and may be forced to endure a generation of EPA-sponsored disruption
of the river.
PCBs in the Upper
Hudson pose no health risk in normal recreational and commercial use of
the river. EPA itself says the river is safe for swimming, wading,
boating and even use as a source of treated drinking water.
that the declining PCB levels in the Upper Hudson pose a "risk" only to
those who consume extraordinary amounts of fish - half a ton - over a 40-year
period. This hypothetical risk is effectively contained by New York
State's 25-year ban on possession of fish from the Upper Hudson.
GE's Hudson River
clean-up program has already produced dramatic benefits for the upper river
- it's helped to reduce PCB levels in water and fish by 90 percent in the
last 20 years. GE has invested nearly $200 million in controlling and
reducing sources of PCBs to the Hudson. GE's proposal - completing the
elimination of the last remaining PCB sources to the river coupled with
natural sedimentation - is more effective than dredging, without the destruction
of the environment and the disruption of Hudson Valley communities. EPA's
own computer model of the Upper Hudson shows dredging to have virtually
no benefit for the river's recovery.
Dredging will devastate
the ecosystem of the Upper Hudson. Abundant and healthy fish and wildlife
populations will be put at risk. Dredging will destroy wetlands, wildlife
food sources and habitat and it may slow or reverse the declines in PCB
EPA's proposal flies
in the face of the repeated failure of dredging projects at other waterways
to achieve the reduced PCB levels that EPA says are necessary to provide
any benefit in the Hudson. A GE study of 26 environmental dredging
projects showed that higher levels of PCBs or other contaminants were seen
immediately after dredging at many sites. For instance, PCB levels in the
water of the Fox River in Wisconsin were 12 times higher downstream than
upstream during a recent dredging project. Average PCB levels in surface
sediment in the Fox River were 3.6 ppm before dredging and 75 ppm after
dredging. At a dredging project on the Grasse River in northern New York,
PCB levels in fish increased 20 to 50 times during dredging and remained
elevated for several years after dredging.
This action from
the EPA bureaucracy is a misguided attempt to punish a corporation that
lawfully discharged PCBs 30 year ago, not a sensible effort to advance
public health or the ecosystem of the river.
GE does not believe
dredging the Upper Hudson River is environmentally responsible, and we
will join forces with others who share this view to fight EPA's dredging
proposal during the regulatory process.
For more information,
please visit G.E.'s Web site: www.hudsonvoice.com
# # #
IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- Tuesday, November 28, 2000
Subject: GE Suit Charges Superfund Provisions Unconstitutional
Source: The General Electric Company
Contact: Mark Behan, (518) 792-3856
Beth Comstock, (203) 373-3871
FAIRFIELD, Conn., Nov. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- The General Electric Company
today filed suit in Federal District Court in Washington, D.C. seeking
to have provisions of the federal Superfund law declared invalid for failing
to provide constitutional due process.
The provisions give the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) uncontrolled
authority to order intrusive remedial projects of unlimited scope and duration
in non-emergency situations. The provisions fail to provide for constitutionally
adequate hearings or an opportunity for judicial review.
EPA's authority to issue such unilateral orders -- which often require
large-scale, multi-year remediation -- violates due process in two basic
Superfund fails to provide any kind of neutral hearing prior
to EPA's order. EPA alone selects the evidence it will use and the
scope of required actions, without any independent court review.
Professor Laurence Tribe of Harvard University Law School, who represents
GE in the case, said: "This is an Alice-in-Wonderland regime of punishment
first, trial afterwards -- even in a non-emergency setting. The statute
gives EPA the power to skew the evidence, ignore other points of view and
order action without any independent review. Then the party has to
do the work and wait years for a hearing. Even then, the long-delayed
hearing is inadequate because it is not impartial. This offends the
Superfund fails to provide timely and meaningful judicial review even
after a unilateral EPA order. If a party believes such an order is
unlawful and refuses to comply with it, then the party immediately faces
severe fines and treble damages. Yet, EPA, not the party, unconstitutionally
controls the timing and content of any subsequent independent court review,
and review delayed is review denied.
Professor Tribe continued: "Because it deprives parties like GE
of liberty and property but fails to provide an impartial and timely hearing
-- a basic protection guaranteed to all persons by the Constitution --
the Superfund provision is flatly unconstitutional on its face."
The suit maintains that these unilateral orders from EPA are totally
out of line with the hearing and judicial review protections afforded by
other administrative agencies in non-emergency situations.
In addition to Professor Tribe, GE is represented in the case by noted
constitutional lawyer Carter Phillips of Sidley & Austin.
# # #
the Editor - TOP
OF PAGE - HOME
(The GE logo is a registered trademark - © 2002 General
Electric Company - and is used on this Web site without permission.)
All Rights Reserved.
Trademarks of HudsonWatch.net/HudsonWatch.org/Hudson-Voice.com and its