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reporter - Environment

Dredging

A dredging barge moves up the Hudson River in Fort Edward in October 2009 during the project to clean up PCBs in the river.

State Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner and state Sen. Jen Metzger are joining U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand to call for more cleanup of the Hudson River.

The lawmakers' news releases and letters to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have come at a confusing time, as the EPA continues to say it has not yet decided whether to issue a certificate of completion to the General Electric Co. for cleanup of PCBs. 

The EPA has said in a statement that it will make a decision soon, but it has said it hopes "to come to some conclusions in the near term," but what that means is unclear. The flurry of letters to the EPA from stakeholders may signal an imminent decision. 

GE has continued to say that the dredging has worked and will protect the environment.

"New York State’s research affirmed that 99.8 percent of the sediment samples collected from the Upper Hudson achieved the standards set by the EPA," said Mark Behan, of Behan Communications and spokesman for GE. "We look forward to the EPA issuing a certification of completion on the dredging project. GE will continue to work with EPA, New York State, local communities and other interested parties on other Hudson River environmental projects."

Woerner, D-Round Lake and Metzger, D-Rosendale, sent a joint letter to EPA Region 2 Administrator Peter Lopez to say the cleanup is not complete, according to a news release on Wednesday. They did not feel that the superfund site was protective of human health and the environment.

Twenty-eight members of the state Assembly and 15 members of the state Senate also signed the letter, dated Feb. 1. 

"For decades our communities along the Hudson River have been denied access to the benefits of a clean river," Woerner said in a news release. "The United States Environmental Protection Agency must acknowledge in their Five Year Review that there remain detrimental levels of contamination in the river, and not issue a certificate of completion to GE at this time."

— Gwendolyn Craig

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Reporter Gwendolyn Craig can be reached at (518) 742-3238 or gcraig@poststar.com. Follow her on Twitter @gwendolynnn1

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