Your Help Needed to Ensure a World Class Cleanup of Hudson River PCBs!

Attached please find a fact sheet on the Hudson River PCB Remediation and a resolution addressing the need for a more thorough removal of PCBs contamination from the Hudson River.  If adopted, your organization will call upon General Electric (GE) to enter into a mutually-beneficial agreement with EPA, the Natural Resource Damage Trustees, the New York State Canal Corporation and/or any other relevant parties to ensure the following will occur before the existing dredging and dewatering infrastructure is dismantled:

  1. Dredge all areas of PCB-contaminated sediments in River Sections 2 and 3 that would require cleanup under the applicable-standards in River Section 1, including, at minimum, the 136 acres identified by the federal Trustees;
  2. Work with the Canal Corporation to conduct any additional necessary removal of soils and sediments in PCB-contaminated “hot spots” in and around the Upper Hudson River, including cleanup of the Champlain Canal to ensure full use of the canal by deep draft shipping vessels;  and
  3. Complete a thorough analysis and robust cleanup of the Hudson River, including the floodplains and the Old Champlain Canal, in order to restore the River to its full health and value as a natural and economic resource.

Many of your organizations signed a resolution addressing PCB contamination and remediation in the Hudson River in 2001.  We thank you for taking action on this important issue in the past, and hope you will consider passing this resolution calling for a comprehensive cleanup of Hudson River PCBs.  During what could be the last year of the required PCB cleanup, we are asking General Electric to create a voluntary agreement with state and federal authorities to complete a more extensive cleanup of the 40-mile stretch in the upper Hudson, including dredging the navigational channel to allow full use of the river by commercial shipping vessels and ensuring thorough remediation of the floodplains and backwaters — before GE decommissions its processing facilities.  We are looking for 100 municipalities and organizations to pass this measure. 
So far, the Ulster County Legislature, the Putnam County Legislature, the Westchester Putnam Association of Town Supervisors, the Cities of Beacon and Newburgh, the Towns of Cornwall, Highlands, Hurley, Lewisboro, Livingston, Lloyd, Mamakating, Mamaroneck, New Paltz, New Windsor, North Salem, Olive, Ramapo, Rhinebeck, Rosendale and Wawarsing, and the Villages of Croton-on-Hudson, New Paltz and Saugerties have joined the Historic Hudson Hoosic Partnership in adopting the attached RESOLUTION REGARDING THE REMOVAL OF PCBs FROM THE HUDSON RIVER.  In addition Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, the Beacon Sloop Club and Coeymans Heritage Society, New York City Friends of Clearwater and North River Friends of Clearwater have as well.   We thank them all and are continuing to work closely with more municipalities and organizations that are considering the resolution.


If you need more information or would like someone to come and address your organization, please let us know.


Key points:

  • Two separate dredging operations — current dredging followed by a separate navigational (and restoration) dredging — will cost a lot more, and we (and their constituents) will pay for this additional cost in bridge and highway tolls.
  • Without a voluntary agreement to extend use of GE’s processing facility and adjacent rail spur, and to do additional dredging, the recovery of river will be significantly delayed, and it will be longer for PCB levels in fish to decrease — causing more health effects to those who eat PCB-contaminated Hudson River fish, in spite of the DOH health advisories against fish consumption.
  • Upriver communities are asking our help with this important initiative and are especially concerned that the remaining contamination of floodplain and backwaters in their communities is rigorously addressed.
  • In five years of active dredging there has been no significant remobilization of PCBs to the Lower Hudson.  An independent technical advisor, Dr. Peter deFur of Environmental Stewardship Concepts, reviewed all data from the tests that checked for sediment resuspension and concluded that it showed minimal resuspension of PCB contaminated at near and far field stations (predictably more at near than at far) — and most of that was captured in next dredging pass as they worked from north to south.  This is less true in the lower section of the upper Hudson where dredging is done in selected spots, not bank to bank or in larger more contiguous areas as was done further north.  There was essentially no rise in additional PCB-containing sediment down river, south of the Federal Dam at Troy, beyond what the River itself stirs up just because it is a dynamic and sometimes turbulent system.  Poughkeepsie (and 5 others) take their drinking water from the Hudson, run through sand and charcoal filters.  The water column tests at Poughkeepsie were not elevated during dredging, and upriver communities used alternative water supplies during active dredging to be on the safe side.
  • Other key points are in attached handout.

We strongly encourage your organization to pass this Resolution or send a letter of support and forward it to the following:

  • Jeffrey Immelt, Chairman and CEO, General Electric Corporation
  • New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo
  • New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman
  • NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
  • NYS Canal Corporation
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA)
  • US Department of Interior Fish and Wildlife Service
  • US Environmental Protection Agency – Region 2 and Hudson River Field Office
  • Hudson River Congressional Delegation – list attached.

A list of addresses and emails for these recipients is attached.  Please also cc: me so that we can keep a current list of all the support for this important resolution.


If you are willing to help or need more information, please contact Sarah Lembo at [email protected] or 845-699-2565 for assistance or:

We will make it easy for you to help in this critical environmental initiative.  Time is short.  Please act now.

For futher information please go to  There is also an individual petition that you and members of your organization can sign at .


Many thanks,

Manna, Althea, Abby, Daniel and Sarah

Posted in Director's Blog, Environmental and Food Justice

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