general electric

Berkshire Communities Join In PCB Cleanup

Oct 22, 2013

Several Berkshire, Massachusetts County communities are banding together, figuring there's strength in numbers when it comes seeking financial compensation from General Electric during the PCB cleanup of the Housatonic River.

Lenox last week joined Lee, Stockbridge, Great Barrington and Sheffield to join the effort, and Pittsfield is expected to join Tuesday.

Nathaniel Karns, executive director of the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, tells The Berkshire Eagle that together the communities can hire a law firm to negotiate with GE.

Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Close to 200 workers in Fort Edward are facing layoffs after General  Electric announced that it is considering a shutdown of an upstate manufacturing facility, unless an otherwise agreement is reached with the union representing employees.

GE Energy Management has announced that it intends to move all manufacturing operations from its Fort Edward plant to a facility in Clearwater, Florida. The move would close the Fort Edward plant, and 198 employees could be affected.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

Representatives of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, General Electric, and the state governments of Connecticut and Massachusetts, recently met with stakeholders to provide updates on the cleanup plan for removing PCB’s from the Housatonic River and Silver Lake in Pittsfield.

At an EPA Housatonic River Citizens Coordinating Council meeting at the Lenox Library Wednesday evening, community stakeholders raised concerns over information presented on a status update of the cleanup project at Silver Lake in Pittsfield.

General Electric has agreed to analyze its potential liability in relation to recently-discovered PCBs in the upper Hudson River. GE will soon resume its remediation of PCBs it discharged into the Hudson decades ago, and at least one environmental group hopes the company will incorporate the additional dredging this year.

..:::WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas:::..

General Electric Co. says it will study a possible expansion of its PCB cleanup of the upper Hudson River after a request by New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

GE, which released poly-chlorinated biphenyls into the river decades ago, is preparing for a fourth season of dredging as part of a federal Superfund project. But DiNapoli says Monday that GE could potentially be found liable for contamination outside the Superfund site and filed a shareholder resolution calling on the company to evaluate its risks.

..:::WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas:::..

The Hudson River PCB-cleanup project is about halfway through, and both governmental officials as well as environmental advocates provided an update on the Superfund project Wednesday. What has not yet begun is a project to restore the Hudson River’s natural resources, including fish and wildlife, but planning for the restoration is underway.

WAMC's David Guistina gets the morning headlines from Mike Spain, associate editor of the Albany Times-Union.