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Hudson River dredging

Dredging crews work on the Hudson River off the shore near Breton Way in Fort Edward in 2012. Recently, EPA granted General Electric Co. a certificate of completion of the remedial action for dredging, capping and habitat restoration. But New York state officials say they will sue the EPA, claiming not enough dredging has been performed.

Reactions to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to grant General Electric Co. a certificate of completion for dredging of the Hudson River have continued to stream in, as have reactions to the state’s announcement to sue.

The EPA announced last week that while it’s not clear whether the dredging of the Hudson River was effective in removing PCBs, GE did what it was supposed to do.

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, said it was anticipated that the state would sue the EPA. She did not say whether she supported the move.

“My focus is on the long-term health of the Hudson and also the long-term health of the economy and the environment,” she said April 12 during a visit to Fort Edward. “My job as a federal policy maker is continuing to work with the EPA to make sure that there continues to be monitoring, that we continue to see lowering of the levels of PCBs. That’s where I hope to focus on in the years coming ahead.”

Fort Edward Town Supervisor Terry Middleton and Mayor Matthew Traver said they were glad the dredging was done.

Fort Edward is where GE had staged its dewatering plant to process river sediment removed from the river.

Both still want to see cleanup of the flood plains, which the EPA had said in its announcement that it was working on in a separate action.

Following U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.’s comment at a press conference Tuesday that he thought the EPA’s decision was “a big mistake,” state Sen. Betty Little, R-Queensbury, said she didn’t really know what to make of it.

“The work that was done was good,” she said. “It’s (the Hudson River) certainly a lot cleaner than it had been.”

Spring cleaning volunteers sought

New York State Canal Corp. and Parks & Trails New York are hosting a Canal Clean Sweep.

There are volunteer activities all over the state to help clean parks and recreational areas around the Erie Canalway Trail corridor. Here are some happening in the region:

  • Fort Ann Rotary Club and Town Board will host a clean sweep starting at 10 a.m. April 27 at the Champlain Canal Waterfront Park on Clay Hill Road in Fort Ann. Volunteers are asked to help pick up trash, pull weeds, cut brush and plant flowers, among other things. All are welcome. For more information, email Town Board Member Samuel Hall at sammyjh49@yahoo.com.
  • The Feeder Canal Alliance will host a clean sweep starting at 8:30 a.m. April 27, at Murray Park, 273 Main St., Hudson Falls. Volunteers are asked to pick up litter along the Feeder Canal Towpath Trail, rake leaves, clip brush and small limbs and make repairs as needed. All are welcome. Contact Jeanne Williams, jwililams@feedercanal.org for more information.
  • Hudson Crossing Park will host a clean sweep starting at 1 p.m. April 27, at the park, County Road 42, Lock 5 Island, Schuylerville. Volunteers are asked to help maintain trails, rake the garden and clean up litter. All are welcome. Contact Kate Morse at kmorse@hudsoncrossingpark.org for more information.

For more information on the program, go to ptny.org/events/canal-clean-sweep.

Dionondehowa Wildlife Sanctuary and School is seeking volunteers for a creek restoration workday, which will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 27, at 148 Stanton Road, Shushan. Volunteers may come when they can.

The focus will be on barbed wire removal along a Batten Kill tributary. Volunteers should bring thick gloves, eye protection and wire cutters, if possible.

For more information and to register, call 518-854-7764 or email dionondehowa@yahoo.com. Lunch will be provided.

Sustainable Saratoga will host its 9th Tree Toga tree planting event starting at 9:30 a.m. April 27.

Volunteers are invited to help plant one of 30 trees that will be planted throughout the city of Saratoga Springs. The organization is also looking for volunteers to water the trees throughout the summer.

The kick-off of the event will be at High Rock Park. Groups will disperse to plant their trees around 10 a.m. A celebratory lunch will follow from noon to 2 p.m. at Harvey’s Restaurant, 14 Phila St., where a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Sustainable Saratoga.

Interested volunteers should sign up at sustainablesaratoga.org/treetoga9.

Boat inspections

The Adirondack Watershed Institute Stewardship Program reported that it worked with more than 191,000 people last year during its boat inspections around the Adirondack Park.

Inspections check for invasive species that may be lingering on people’s boats, and decontamination stations help remove those invasives.

The program, which is part of Paul Smith’s College, inspected more than 98,000 boats from more than 53 states and provinces. About 4,600 aquatic invasive species were intercepted and about 3,400 boats were decontaminated.

Eurasian watermilfoil was the most popular invasive found. Others found included zebra mussels and spiny waterflea.

Become a weather spotter

The Albany Forecast Center of the National Weather Service is hosting Skywarn training classes in Warren and Washington counties.

Skywarn is a nationwide volunteer network of weather spotters that help the weather service with on-the-ground verification of forecasts. The training is free and open to people age 10 and up. Registration is required.

One training will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. April 29, at Pizzeria Uno, 900 state Route 9, Queensbury. One will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. May 1, at the Washington County Municipal Center, 383 Broadway, Building B Basement, Fort Edward. Register at weather.gov/aly/skywarn.

New York City green initiatives

Following the state’s ban on single-use plastic bags, the New York City Council passed a law that charges a 5-cent fee on paper bags.

The New York Public Interest Group would like to see other municipalities adopt the law.

“By adopting the 5-cent fee on paper bags to complement the state’s plastic bag ban, New York City won’t be trading one set of environmental problems for another,” said Liz Moran, environmental policy director for the group, in a news release. “New Yorkers will adapt as shoppers have elsewhere, by using reusable bags instead of paper or plastic — which are both contributors of climate change.”

Also in the city, Attorney General Letitia James’ office helped fund a fleet of six battery-powered delivery trucks to nonprofit organizations. The project was funded by a $9.5 million settlement with American Electric Power.

“The dirty diesel trucks that crowd our streets are a major source of our city’s worst local air pollution and greatly contribute to climate change,” James said in a news release. “Zero-emission, all-electric trucks are the future of New York City’s truck fleet and I am proud to lead the way to provide these clean, efficient and economical alternatives.”

— Reporter Michael Goot contributed to this article.

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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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