GE Offers Good Faith Agreement to Clean Up Hudson River

Washington, D.C. -- General Electric Co. (GE) has filed a good faith offer with the federal government to clean up 2.65 million cubic yards of contaminated sediment, or polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), from a 40-mile stretch of the Hudson River.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Christie Whitman ordered the cleanup in February. GE dumped about 1.3 million pounds of PCBs into the river from its plants in Fort Edward and Hudson Falls, N.Y., before the government banned the substance in 1977, deeming it a possible carcinogen.

GE filed the offer to avoid a fine that could cost up to three times the estimated $500 million that it will take to clean up the site with the EPA under the Superfund law.

Meantime, GE has a pending case in the U.S. district court challenging the constitutionality of the Superfund law under which the cleanup was ordered.

The company and the EPA now must take a minimum of 60 days to negotiate a legally binding consent decree, which is expected to outline the details of the cleanup.