This morning, GE informed EPA it will "opt-in" to complete the Hudson River PCBs cleanup, pursuant to the cleanup standards EPA announced last week. Under the terms of the company's 2006 settlement with EPA, GE will now be bound by a federal court order to finish the job it began last year.
This is truly a historic turning point for the health of the Hudson River.
Much hard work remains to ensure that the best possible cleanup is performed under the standards EPA set last week. And the terms of the federal court settlement, and of last week's EPA decision, still provide opportunities for GE to seek adjustments in the cleanup standards as the project unfolds -- including changes that could ultimately curtail the scope of the cleanup. That means EPA's continued vigilance will be essential in the coming years.
But without a doubt, we all have something to celebrate at this holiday season. After decades of battling to ensure GE cleans up its toxic waste, which has polluted hundreds of miles of the river since the 1940s, we can now look forward to a day when the river’s fish are once again safe to eat and the Hudson is restored to its full glory.