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State loses lawsuit against GE over Hudson dredging

Mar 12, 2021 12:30 pm

Rick Karlin is reporting for the Times Union New York has lost a court battle to reverse a ruling by the Environmental Protection Agency that General Electric Co.’s dredging project to remove PCBs from the Hudson River was satisfactorily completed. “This lawsuit comes too late and [is] based on improper theories,” Northern Federal District Court Judge David Hurd wrote in dismissing the state’s suit against the federal agency and GE. Hurd did note, however, that General Electric could still be held responsible for more dredging if the state essentially restarts the process that led to the $1.7 billion dredging project, from 2006 to 2015. GE and the EPA in 2006 entered into a consent decree in which the government agreed not to sue GE if the company adequately removed PCBs, which were released from its electric capacitor factories in Fort Edward and Hudson Falls between 1947 and 1977. GE dumped an estimated 1.3 million pounds of the toxic compound into the Hudson over the years. The company agreed to dredge the 40 miles between Fort Edward and Troy as part of the 2006 EPA agreement. They took out about 310,000 pounds of PCB-laden sediment from the river bed, or roughly 72 percent of what was believed to be there. In 2015 GE finished dredging and in 2019 the EPA issued a certificate of completion, saying the dredging task was completed. Hurd wrote in his opinion the language of the consent decree between the company and the EPA leaves a clear opening for the government to come after GE with the full force of the law to see the job done. The state Department of Environmental Conservation says it is considering its options, including a possible appeal of the decision. Read the full story in the Times Union.

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