GM May Face Lawsuit Over PCB Site

The New York State attorney general has threatened to sue General\r\nMotors Corp. over chemicals linked to cancer found at dump sites\r\nat GM's Massena, N.Y., plant.

The New York State attorney general has threatened to sue General Motors Corp. (GM) over chemicals linked to cancer found at dump sites at a GM plant, saying the company is not doing enough to clean up the area.

In a letter to the automaker dated Wednesday, N.Y. Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said the sites at GM''s casting plant near Massena, N.Y., "pose an imminent and substantial danger to public health and the environment."

Spitzer said he will file a federal lawsuit if no progress is made in 90 days on the cleaning up of the 270-acre site in northern New York, bordering the St. Lawrence River and the St. Regis Mohawk American Indian reservation.

The site is contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls, (PCSs), chemicals linked with cancer and other chronic illnesses that GM used to make engine parts from 1959 to 1974.

Tests have found PCBs in the breast milk of nursing mothers on the Mohawk reservation and in the tissues of animals near the river.

GM, which has been wrangling with federal and state officials over the site for two decades, said it has no immediate response to the letter.

However, EPA said GM was in compliance with federal cleanup orders that were put into place last year.

GM has agreed to dispose of 23,000 cubic yards of PCB-laced soil and sediment, out of about 800,000 cubic yards of contaminated material at the sites.

EPA has been negotiating with GM and the reservation over other ways to clean the site.

The total cost of the cleanup is currently estimated at more than $100 million.

In a similar case, EPA proposed last year the General Electric Co. spend $490 million to dredge PCBs from parts of the Hudson River, but GE is fighting the project.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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