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EPA Report Show PCB Dredging is Improving Hudson River Water QualityAs General Electric wraps up its Hudson River dredging project for the year, an EPA report shows the process is effectively removing toxic PCB pollution from the riverbed and highlights the need to expand the scope when it resumes next year, in order to capture large pockets of contamination that are currently not slated for cleanup.The EPA announcement went on to say that the corporation has made significant progress in cleaning up toxic PCB chemicals in a portion of the Hudson River, after dumping the pollution decades ago.
In 2013, the project enters a phase of less thorough, more confined removal of PCBs, so critical planning would have to happen this winter to enhance the initiative and ensure that large amounts of toxins are not left behind. For these reasons, Clearwater, Riverkeeper, Natural Resources Defense Council and Scenic Hudson, along with community leaders and businesses, are urging GE not to miss this opportunity and are calling for a smart project expansion that would capture this missed pollution.
Thus far, GE has limited its participation in the cleanup to the areas covered by the original cleanup plan despite reports the very high-level PCB sediments left behind will delay or forestall the river's recovery. Environmental and community groups are calling on the corporation to broaden the good work it has begun in the Hudson while it's still in the water dredging. Doing so while all of the cleanup infrastructure is in place, is the most efficient and logical way to address a substantial pollution hazard.
The cleanup area also affects a vital shipping corridor that for decades has been impossible to dig out for deep-draft shipping due to GE's pollution. Several waterfront communities and organizations, including a group of all of the local elected leaders in a three-county area, are asking the EPA and GE to include removal of contaminated sediment in the navigation channel as part of the ongoing cleanup. Under the current remediation design, navigability will not be restored and opportunities for major economic revitalization will stall or disappear.
If the shipping channel is opened, economically hurting communities in the cleanup area could be magnets for new investments that have been projected to create up to 4,000 jobs and $150 million in wages. For example, a recently proposed major barge terminal is on hold due to the lack of a navigable shipping channel. Also, huge opportunities to grow the region's strong agricultural economy by shipping products to New York City's network of greenmarkets are being held back. These and other job-creating initiatives can't proceed without including navigational dredging in future seasons of dredging.
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