GE Takes National Grid To Court

Apr 30, 2013

GE spokesman Mark Behan
Credit WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

General Electric has filed a lawsuit against National Grid seeking compensation for a share of costs for the $1 billion-plus Superfund cleanup of contaminated sediment from the upper Hudson River.
In a federal complaint filed Friday, GE says that in 1973 National Grid's predecessor, Niagara Mohawk, removed an 1880s-era dam downstream of GE plants in Hudson Falls and Fort Edward that caused more than 1 million cubic yards of tainted mud and contaminated sediment to wash downstream.

GE announced the suit Monday, coinciding with the beginning of a fourth year of dredging PCBs from the river. GE released PCBs, into the river decades ago, and is dredging the river as part of a federal Superfund project that's expected to cost more than $1 billion.

National Grid spokesman Patrick Stella explains proper procedures required to remove the dam were followed. He admits National Grid bears some liability, being responsible for companies the utility has acquired.

GE and National Grid had been in settlement talks until recently. Mark Behan says both companies must answer to their respective customers and shareholders.

Officials with the US Environmental Protection Agency say the dredging project is almost halfway to reaching the goal of removing 2.65 million cubic yards of contaminated sediment from a 40-mile stretch of the upper Hudson.

According to the EPA. the cleanup creates 350 jobs annually. The EPA is not commenting on the lawsuit.