Basil Seggos, commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Conservation, was in Washington, D.C., this week to not only talk about climate change with federal agencies, but also the cleanup of the Hudson River.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has said it will make a decision in the “near future” as to whether it will issue General Electric Co. a certificate of completion for dredging the Hudson of PCBs.
Several state leaders have called on the EPA to deny the certificate of completion, though GE has said its sediment results show the dredging worked. The DEC has continued to say it does not believe the cleanup is finished.
“EPA has a legal and moral obligation to direct GE to meet the cleanup goals set when the Hudson dredging remedy was selected. New York is prepared to use all legal options to ensure EPA and GE finish the job and protect public health, the Hudson River environment, and the communities that depend on a clean and healthy river,” the DEC said in an emailed statement to The Post-Star.
Mark Behan, of Behan Communications and spokesman for GE, has said the business looks forward to the EPA issuing a certificate of completion on the dredging project.
In an interview Feb. 25, Behan added that even after a certificate of completion is issued, GE will remain involved in other environmental projects on the Hudson until the EPA issues a “no further action letter.”
Besides the Hudson, Seggos also discussed climate change and emission-free energy sources while in Washington.
LGA: Lake George streams are healthy
A citizen science data project looking at aquatic life’s tolerance of pollution shows Lake George’s tributaries are doing well, according to the Lake George Association.
The program, called the Water Assessments by Volunteer Evaluators, trains locals to collect organisms in the streams. They’re sent to the DEC for testing to see if the organisms are “pollution tolerant,” meaning they can survive in lower-quality water.
Scientists can determine whether a stream is impaired based on what kinds of organisms are in it. The latest round of testing in the streams that the Lake George Association looked at show they’re healthy.
Those streams include: Big Hollow Brook, Butternut Brook, Cotton Brook, Finkle Brook, Indian Brook, Northwest Bay, Round Pond Brook, Shelving Rock Brook, Smith Brook and part of West Brook.
“The study is good news, of course, but isn’t the complete picture,” said Kristen Wilde, education director for the association.
In addition to the Water Assessments by Volunteer Evaluators program, the association works with the DEC on the Citizen Statewide Lake Assessment Program to measure nutrients and bacteria in the water.
The association currently has 34 trained citizen scientists, but is looking for more volunteers for this summer. Those interested should call 518-668-3558 or email email@example.com.
Land and water fund may continue
A federal fund intended to compensate for environmental damage done by oil and gas exploration expired in September, but the U.S. House of Representatives approved its reauthorization Wednesday, according to a news release.
The federal Land and Water Conservation Fund provides assistance to states for protecting forests, agricultural land, wildlife habitat, drinking water supplies and historic battlefields. The fund is supposed to receive $900 million annually from oil and gas leases on the Outer Continental Shelf.
In New York, according to a news release from the Adirondack Council, the fund has helped with more than 1,300 conservation projects in all 62 counties.
The Senate passed a bill to reinstate the fund and make its revenue permanent in February.
“We are thrilled to see this funding source revived on the federal level,” said William Janeway, executive director of the Adirondack Council, in a news release. “We hope it will start creating new investments and green jobs in New York very soon.”
Adirondack Land Trust recognized
The national Land Trust Accreditation Commission awarded accreditation to the Adirondack Land Trust, in an announcement Wednesday. The recognition means the land trust has met the highest national standards for land and water conservation.
The land trust has been around for 35 years, and has protected 23,887 acres in the Adirondack Park to date.
“It is exciting to recognize the Adirondack Land Trust with this national mark of distinction,” said Tammara Van Ryn, executive director of the commission, in a news release. “Donors and partners can trust the more than 400 accredited land trusts across the country are united behind strong standards and have demonstrated sound finances, ethical conduct, responsible governance and lasting stewardship.”