With a federal decision expected this month, New York state has announced it will sue the Environmental Protection Agency if the EPA declares dredging of the Upper Hudson River complete.
Governor Andrew Cuomo and state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman made the announcement Thursday regarding the $1.7 billion removal of toxic PCBs along a 40-mile stretch from Fort Edward to Troy. The Democrats say the state is prepared to withdraw from the 2002 Record of Decision which guided the cleanup and removal of 2.75 millions cubic yards of PCB-contaminated sediment from the river. The lawsuit would also seek further cleanup work.
The EPA’s decision is expected by December 23rd, in accordance with a consent decree between the agency and General Electric.
An EPA review this summer said no more dredging is needed.
GE spokesman Mark Behan said GE has met all of its commitments to EPA and New York state.
“The Hudson is one of New York’s crown jewels, vital to our environment, our economy, and our communities,” Attorney General Schneiderman said in a statement. “The law is clear: EPA cannot possibly support a finding that GE’s actions have been sufficient to protect New Yorkers' public health and the environment. If the EPA declares mission accomplished, we will sue to ensure New York sees the full, timely cleanup and restoration of the Hudson River that was promised."
“The Hudson River is a critical economic engine and environmental treasure and New York will not allow PCB contamination to continue wreaking havoc on this vital resource,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement. “The data is clear: the job is not done and the EPA cannot declare that this remediation is complete. If they do, New York will take any action necessary to hold them accountable for ensuring our waterways are protected and properly restored.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.