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Furthering Dispute, GE Says EPA’s Housatonic Plan Cannot Be Reconciled

This is a picture of a stretch of the Housatonic River undergoing remediation in 2012.
Berkshire Environmental Action Team
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A stretch of the Housatonic River undergoing remediation in 2012.

General Electric is moving forward on dispute resolutions with the EPA, saying the agency’s cleanup plan for the Housatonic River cannot be reconciled. The company dumped PCBs into the waterway from its Pittsfield facility until the chemical was banned in 1977.In a letter this week, GE says EPA’s 13-year plan costing more than $600 million is inconsistent with criteria laid out in a consent decree signed by the company, agency and other parties. GE challenges the need for out-of-state disposal of contaminated sediment and lambasts the agency’s claim that cost is the reason GE is challenging the plan. Meanwhile, the EPA has stood firm.

“We crafted the best solution that we could,” said the EPA's Jim Murphy earlier this year. “I think we’ve achieved an optimal remedy.

A designated EPA official is expected to issue a binding decision, which either party can appeal. The matter could end up in federal court.

Jim is WAMC’s Associate News Director and hosts WAMC's flagship news programs: Midday Magazine, Northeast Report and Northeast Report Late Edition. Email: jlevulis@wamc.org
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