Dutchess County to File Brief in Support  of Vacating EPA’s Certificate of Completion for Hudson River Cleanup

Dutchess County to File Brief in Support
of Vacating EPA’s Certificate of Completion
for Hudson River Cleanup

Poughkeepsie… County Executive Marc Molinaro announced today Dutchess County will file an amicus-curiae brief with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York in support of the New York State lawsuit filed against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by New York State Attorney General Letitia James, the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Governor Andrew Cuomo. The suit asserts the EPA violated federal law when, in April, despite indication that concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a known human carcinogen, remain dangerously high in the Hudson River, it issued a “Certificate of Completion” to General Electric Company (GE) indicating that GE’s PCB clean-up efforts were complete and the EPA agrees not to sue GE in the future.

In the brief, County Executive Molinaro will stress the economic and environmental impacts of the Hudson River on Dutchess County residents, many of whom rely on the river for drinking water, fishing, recreation, tourism and commerce, and will urge the court to vacate the Certificate of Completion until the long-term ecological health of the River is verifiably achieved.

County Executive Molinaro said, “The EPA’s decision to conclude the active remediation component of this Superfund site, despite its research findings to the contrary, especially since so many Dutchess County residents rely on the Hudson River as a drinking water source as well as for natural resources, recreation, and their livelihood, is a dereliction of its duty to the environment and the countless communities along the river’s banks. I highly commend the work of groups such as Riverkeeper, led by President Paul Gallay, and Scenic Hudson, led by President Ned Sullivan, who have not only been a loud voice advocating for completing the clean-up, but have also diligently and independently studied our beloved river and continue to share their findings to inform and protect our community. The EPA’s grossly premature Certification of Completion is a dangerous and critical blow to these ongoing efforts to restore the Hudson River to a safe, healthy and thriving ecosystem. This certificate creates significant obstacles to holding the polluter accountable for future remediation efforts necessary for true and lasting cleanup and it cannot stand.”

The Hudson River PCB Superfund stretches 180 miles from Hudson Falls in Washington County to New York City and is divided into the Upper Hudson River, which runs 40 miles between Hudson Falls and Troy in Rensselaer County, and the Lower Hudson River, which runs from Troy 140 miles to the southern tip of Manhattan. In 2017, the EPA’s review of the remediation project found approximately 54 tons of PCBs remain in the Upper River site. Additionally, the report found cleanup efforts were not adequate to protect human health and the environment, and it will take more than 50 years to achieve that level of protection. The report also noted the Lower Hudson River section, including Dutchess County communities, has received no health or environmental benefits from the upriver dredging.

County Executive Molinaro said, “Dutchess County remains committed to restoring the health and vitality of the Hudson River and we must hold the EPA responsible. I fully support vacating the Certificate of Completion until this critical cleanup continues to acceptable levels. The communities of the Hudson River Valley will not settle for anything less than a complete recovery and now, more than ever, we must come together and raise our voices even louder to hold the polluters accountable for their past treatment of our Hudson River. We have one opportunity to fully restore and revitalize our beloved river, preserving it for generations to come. We cannot stand by and let the EPA’s erroneous determination go unchallenged.”

Author: Harlem Valley News