Tuesday, September 19, 2017

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Area leaders urge EPA to provide more Hudson River cleanup

POUGHKEEPSIE – State, Dutchess County, and local leaders gathered on the east shore of the Hudson River on Monday to urge the EPA to require a comprehensive PCB cleanup of the Hudson River.  


Lawmakers at several levels united in the call for a clean Hudson

Poughkeepsie Mayor Robert Rolison said the river has a lot to do with the comeback of the City of Poughkeepsie and efforts need to continue to remediate the PCB pollution caused by General Electric further north.  He pointed out that the Poughkeepsie waterfront has become a bustling area of both residential and commercial construction and leaders need to remain vigilant in protecting the river.

“We’ve got the people that live here; we have people that are establishing businesses, but we have a river that we need to make sure that we protect,” Rolison said. “As a member of the Joint Water Board, we get our water from the river and so does the Town of Poughkeepsie and other customers, so there are so many reasons why we need to never stop being vigilant in the protection of this great resource.”

In urging the EPA to use modern data to evaluate the remediation process, Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro said "this is about jobs but also our vitality, because PCBs in the Hudson pose a health threat to people living in riverfront communities. For seventy years, the economic, recreational, cultural, and scenic resources - public resources - of the Hudson River have been damaged by this pollution."  

Molinaro said the EPA “must do the right thing for the health and welfare of millions.” He said the agency must find that the cleanup that has already taken place is "not protective" and delete the unsupported claim that the cleanup "will be protective."

Assemblyman Frank Skartados pointed out that every community in his district relies on the Hudson River for water.  He criticized General Electric, the source of the PCB contamination, by saying that "toxins were dumped into the river in the name of bringing good things to life."

All of the attendees, including Beacon Mayor Randy Casale and Rhinebeck Town Supervisor Elizabeth Spinzia lent their support for additional PCB remediation efforts.

“Furthering momentum with community revitalization in the Hudson Valley depends on a clean, healthy Hudson River,” Spinzia said. “As long as unacceptable levels of PCBs pollute its water, sediment and fish, they hinder lasting economic gains."

Scenic Hudson President Ned Sullivan spoke of how the federal agency recently held a public comment period regarding its five-year draft review that included language that the current remediation efforts would make the Hudson safe in approximately 53 years.  Sullivan said that recent studies by scientists using modern technology debunk that claim.  He said that the EPA received 1,500 responses to their review and, almost in unanimity the respondents said that the current cleanup has not been successful.

 


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