Trustees: GE Misleads In Hudson Dredge Report
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- Federal trustees who will assess General Electric's liability for harm done to the Hudson River's natural resources accused the company Monday of being misleading in a report that found no need to voluntarily expand dredging.
The Federal Natural Resources Trustees for the Hudson River sent an open letter pointedly criticizing GE, which said in the December report that scientific and legal analysis shows wildlife in the area is healthy. The company wrote that report in response to a request from the state comptroller.
The trustees' letter comes several months before GE is scheduled to begin its fifth year of dredging for PCBs on the upper river as part of a $2 billion federal Superfund cleanup project. The Fairfield, Conn.-based company discharged about 1.3 million pounds of PCBs, used as coolants in electrical equipment, from its capacitor plants during several decades until 1977.
The trustees said in their letter to GE that they wanted to "correct the public record" in light of the report to state comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.
The trustees claim the GE report did not acknowledge injury to the river's fish, waterfowl, surface water and ground water.
"By selectively referencing only some of the Natural Resource Damage (NRD) regulations, the report is misleading as to what constitutes an injured resource," according to the letter.
GE said in a statement that its recent report was "a comprehensive and factual analysis of actual Hudson River data, including in substantial part the Trustees' own reports."
"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which ordered the project, has concluded that it is meeting all of the agency's cleanup objectives and is protective of human health and the environment. EPA said in November it is not contemplating ordering additional dredging. We agree with the EPA's decision," GE said in an emailed statement.
The trustees eventually will make an assessment of the harm done to the river's resources, which could lead to either a settlement with GE over the company's liability or to litigation.
The trustees also say they have previously pointed out specific areas to dredge outside the boundaries of the Superfund project that could lessen GE's liability.
Environmentalists have long called for GE to undertake additional dredging of PCB "hot spots" outside the Superfund project's boundaries. GE again rejected that idea Monday.
DiNapoli, trustee of the state pension system, withdrew a shareholder resolution last year after GE agreed to study the possibility of expanded dredging.