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GE Takes National Grid To Court

Hudson dredging more elaborate than expected
Dave Lucas/WAMC
General Electric spokesman Mark Behan presents an aerial map of the dredging site at Fort Edward.

General Electric has filed a lawsuit against National Grid seeking compensation for a share of costs for the $1 billion-plus Superfund cleanup of contaminated sediment from the upper Hudson River.
In a federal complaint filed Friday, GE says that in 1973 National Grid's predecessor, Niagara Mohawk, removed an 1880s-era dam downstream of GE plants in Hudson Falls and Fort Edward that caused more than 1 million cubic yards of tainted mud and contaminated sediment to wash downstream.

GE announced the suit Monday, coinciding with the beginning of a fourth year of dredging PCBs from the river. GE released PCBs, into the river decades ago, and is dredging the river as part of a federal Superfund project that's expected to cost more than $1 billion.

National Grid spokesman Patrick Stella explains proper procedures required to remove the dam were followed. He admits National Grid bears some liability, being responsible for companies the utility has acquired.

GE and National Grid had been in settlement talks until recently. Mark Behan says both companies must answer to their respective customers and shareholders.

Officials with the US Environmental Protection Agency say the dredging project is almost halfway to reaching the goal of removing 2.65 million cubic yards of contaminated sediment from a 40-mile stretch of the upper Hudson.

According to the EPA. the cleanup creates 350 jobs annually. The EPA is not commenting on the lawsuit.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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