GE Faces $460 Million Cleanup Under EPA Proposal

EPA proposed that General Electric spend approximately $460\r\nmillion to cleanup parts of a 40-mile stretch of the Hudson River that its plants polluted for 30 years.

EPA proposed that General Electric spend approximately $460 million to cleanup parts of a 40-mile stretch of the Hudson River that its electrical equipment-making plants polluted for 30 years.

The agency proposed removing hundreds of sections of the riverbed near Albany, N.Y., where GE discharged polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), an industrial compound thought to cause cancer, from 1947 through 1977.

"The Hudson River is too active a river to leave the PCBs in place," EPA Administrator Carol Browner said at a press conference in New York City. "Failure to clean up this river will leave fish contaminated for another generation."

GE, the world''s largest maker of aircraft engines and power systems and the owner of the National Broadcasting Company, says its safer to leave the PCBs buried in the riverbed.

"This outrageous proposal by EPA bureaucrats -- to ''save'' the river by destroying it -- is not supported by science or reality," GE said in a statement. "The proposal is absurd."

EPA is accepting comments for 60 days on its Hudson River plan, which would take five years and could begin as early as 2003.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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