EPA Orders GE to Dredge Hudson River

Washington, D.C. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ordered General Electric (GE) Co. to pay at least $500 million to remove 2.65 million cubic yards of sediment from a 40-mile stretch of the Hudson River north of Albany, N.Y.

The company dumped 1.3 million pounds of toxic chemicals such as PCBs into the Hudson River from its plants in Fort Edward and Hudson Falls until the federal government banned the pollutants in 1977.

GE has adamantly opposed dredging and has lobbied for several months to get the EPA to reconsider the order. Local upstate communities also are up in arms because they fear long lines of dump trucks and related activities will disrupt their lives and contaminate their landfills.

State officials still have 15 business days to review the cleanup plan, which does not become official until it is formally signed. If GE refuses to agree to the cleanup, the EPA can begin the dredging and charge the company as much as three times the original cost.