New York State to Sue EPA Over GE’s Hudson River Dredging

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Attorney General Letitia A. James have announced that New York State intends to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), following the Certificate of Completion issued by the agency for General Electric’s cleanup of PCB contamination in the Hudson River.

Late last year, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation released a study showing the cleanup of contamination in the upper Hudson River is incomplete and not protective of public health and the environment.

At that time, the State demanded that EPA not issue the Certificate of Completion, as PCB – or polychlorinated biphenyls – levels in fish are still above EPA’s own acceptable risk range.

“EPA’s decision to issue the Certificate of Completion is contrary to the law and could make it much harder for EPA to require GE to implement more dredging or other remedial measures in the upper Hudson River, as needed to protect public health and the environment,” according to the latest release from Cuomo’s office.

EPA issued the Certificate of Completion yesterday.

Commenting the latest news, Governor Cuomo said: “The Hudson River is the lifeblood of communities from New York City to the Adirondacks but we know PCB levels remain unacceptably high in the riverbed and in fish. Since the EPA has failed to hold GE accountable for fulfilling its obligation to restore the river, New York State will take any action necessary to protect our waterways and that includes suing the EPA to demand a full and complete remediation. Anything less is unacceptable.”

Before announcing the State’s intent to sue, New York – through DEC and the Attorney General’s Office – made numerous requests to EPA to fully assess the nature and extent of contamination left behind after six years of dredging to remove PCBs, which was required by EPA in order to meet the goals of the 2002 Record of Decision (ROD).