Second NYS Action Signals PCB Cleanup Not Over

Tuesday, September 20, 2016 -- Scenic Hudson

Ned Sullivan at Aug 21 NYSDEC Press Conference

Ned Sullivan at Aug 22 NYSDEC Press Conference

Ned Sullivan at Aug. 22 NYSDEC press conference. Photo: Kyle Hughes, nysnys.com

Scenic Hudson President Ned Sullivan helps turn about state policy

New York State and federal officials are stepping up to join Scenic Hudson in pressing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to demand additional cleanup of Hudson River PCBs by General Electric. The new wave of government actions follows a series of briefings Scenic Hudson President Ned Sullivan—a former high-ranking state environmental official in New York and Maine—provided on the health, environmental and economic risks posed by hundreds of acres of contamination that GE’s cleanup failed to address.

These actions led to:

  • an Aug. 22 press conference by NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos (pictured above) at which Mr. Sullivan spoke, calling on the EPA to demand additional dredging by GE.
  • an Aug. 21 letter from Commissioner Seggos to the EPA citing deficiencies in the cleanup and the need for more dredging and a more aggressive and transparent Five Year Review process. See this New York Times article.
  • Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, who facilitated a meeting between Ned Sullivan and Gov. Cuomo’s Secretary Bill Mulrow that proved decisive in the new administration policy, held a press conference calling for additional cleanup.
  • New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman wrote to the EPA Sept. 16 forcefully asserting that the EPA cannot certify the cleanup as complete because fish in the Hudson continue to be contaminated with PCBs at levels 600 percent above those targeted in the EPA’s cleanup agreement with GE. See this Wall Street Journal article.

Mr. Sullivan has hailed the Cuomo administration for agreeing with federal trustees overseeing the Hudson River PCB cleanup that more dredging is needed to restore the river’s health. He stated that DEC Commissioner Seggos took a historic step in asserting that GE’s Hudson River cleanup, as implemented to date, will not achieve the targeted reductions in PCBs in fish and water in the timeframes anticipated by the EPA when it adopted the cleanup plan. This is a major breakthrough in the 40-year struggle to rid the Hudson of GE’s cancer-causing contamination.

Praise from the Scenic Hudson leader also was extended to state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for putting the EPA on notice that GE’s cleanup of PCBs in the Hudson River has failed to meet the agency’s explicit goals and that the EPA cannot certify the work as complete under provisions of federal law. Another major breakthrough.