25-Year-Old Hudson River Cleanup Plan Starts Today


Down on the Hudson River by Fort Edward, New York, General Electric, supervised by the EPA, started dredging today. They’re looking to remove from the river the PCBs (Polychlorinated biphenyls) GE dumped there decades ago. When the government announced in the 1970s that PCBs are harmful to both fish and humans, former New York governor Hugh Carey insisted they were so harmless that he offered to drink a glass of them to prove it. If this sounds like a rather retro sort of environmental issue, it’s because the river was named a Superfund cleanup site 25 years ago; GE has since then been fighting the government’s authority to make it clean up its mess, on the reasonable grounds that PCBs weren’t outlawed when they dumped them, and continues to challenge it in court; but in this new greener era apparently GE feels it should at least go along with the gag. The project will take six years, cost over $750 million dollars, and extend down to the southern tip of Manhattan — where, to hear opponents of the Gowanus Superfund cleanup tell it, it will decrease land values. Image (cc) Wikipedia.