Assemblymember Barrett: EPA Must Expand PCB Remediation Efforts to Entire Hudson Valley Region

August 30, 2017

Dutchess County, NY – As the September 1st deadline rapidly approaches to submit public comment to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding the Hudson River Superfund cleanup, State Assemblymember Didi Barrett (D-Columbia, Dutchess) is calling on the EPA to continue remediation efforts in the upper Hudson Valley, as well as investigate polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination in the mid and lower Hudson Valley regions.

In a letter to EPA Region 2 Director Gary Klawinski, Assemblymember Barrett urged EPA to reinforce its commitment to ridding the Hudson River of PCBs. The Hudson River, which Barrett calls a “vital economic, recreational, and cultural resource for millions of people,” was exposed to PCBs - a known carcinogen - due to years of harmful dumping by General Electric at their two facilities north of Albany.

“General Electric fought for decades and spent millions to avoid cleaning the over 1.3 million pounds of PCBs it dumped into the Hudson River,” said Assemblymember Barrett. “We are asking the EPA to stand up for the people that live by, work on, and visit the majestic Hudson River, and tell GE to take responsibility for the tremendous damage it has done to the river and the local economy.”

Members of the public have until September 1st to submit a comment and can do so by emailing the Region 2 Director at epahrfo@outlook.com or by sending a letter to:


Gary Klawinski, Director

EPA Region 2

Hudson River Office

187 Wolf Road, Suite 303

Albany, NY 12205


You can read Assemblymember Barrett’s letter in its entirety below:


August 23, 2017


Gary Klawinski, Director

EPA Region 2, Hudson River Office

187 Wolf Road, Suite 303

Albany, NY 12205

epahrfo@outlook.com


Re: Hudson River PCBs Superfund Site Second Five-Year Review

Dear Director Klawinski,

On behalf of the people of the 106th Assembly District of New York, and as a resident of the beautiful Hudson River Valley, I write to urge the EPA to continue active remediation efforts in the Upper Hudson as well to investigate PCBs in the Mid and Lower Hudson. The Hudson River, often called America’s River, is a vital economic, recreational, and cultural resource for millions of people. It is the historic spine of our region and a critical source of water for communities and businesses on its shores. The EPA must do more to ensure the remediation will protect human health and the environment, and meet the goals from its original Record of Decision (ROD) in 2002.

Analysis from National Oceanic and the Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) suggests pre-remedial PCB concentrations in areas targeted for dredging were 2 to 3 times higher than EPA anticipated. Higher than anticipated levels of surface sediment contamination was found in portions of River Sections 2 & 3, areas not designated for dredging. Data also suggests the lower 150 miles of the river is not responding to the dredging as anticipated, and PCB concentrations in fish have not declined. According to the EPA’s own analysis, it will be, at minimum, over 50 years before New Yorkers can safely eat one half-pound fish meal from the Hudson River once a week without negative health effects. Our communities should not have to wait generations to safely eat locally caught fish.

General Electric fought for decades and spent millions to avoid cleaning the over 1.3 million pounds of PCBs it dumped into the Hudson River. We are asking the EPA to stand up for the people that live by, work on, and visit the majestic Hudson River, and tell GE to take responsibility for the tremendous damage it has done to the river and the local economy. The EPA must require GE to achieve “protective” status for the entire 200-mile stretch of the Hudson River ensuring that PCB levels are truly safe for humans and the environment.

I hope the EPA will consider the people of New York when makings its decision about our River’s vitality.

Sincerely,

Didi Barrett

Assemblymember, 106th District

Cc: Administrator Scott Pruitt, U.S. Environmental Protection

Agency Commissioner Basil Seggos, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation