Posted January 23, 2018
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency got about 2,000 comments from people and groups over whether the seven-year, $1.7 billion PCB dredging project of the Hudson River has been a success, the agency said Wednesday.
EPA must consider those comments, released publicly late Wednesday, as part of its final report on the the dredging project. The agency expects to issue the report early this year.
The agency faces pressure from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, numerous federal, state and local government officials, and civic and environmental groups that want EPA to require General Electric Co., which ran the cleanup under a 2002 agreement with EPA, to remove more of the toxins.
A draft report this past summer said while more PCBs were removed from the river than originally planned, because more PCBs were found than had been expected, there are enough toxic PCBs left behind to keep river fish unsafe to eat well past the middle of this century, or longer.
Last month, EPA fended off a bid by General Electric Co. to get a clean bill of health — called a certificate of completion — for the cleanup, saying that its review of the project was not yet finished.
GE has steadfastly maintained that it has met the 2002 agreement after dredging a 40-mile section of river from Fort Edward to Troy before concluding the project in the late summer of 2015.
In November, the state sent its own PCB river study test results to EPA to support its claims that the levels of the toxic chemical remain too high.
After unsuccessfully pushing EPA to conduct more tests on the river, the state Department of Environmental Conservation spent $2 million to collect and analyze its own river samples.