Assemblymember Maryjane Shimsky Calls on the EPA to Enforce PCB Cleanup in the Hudson River

Assemblymember MaryJane Shimsky joins State Senator Pete Harckham, chair of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, Senate and Assembly colleagues, and the Friends of a Clean Hudson coalition in calling on the EPA to enforce a full remediation of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the Hudson River.

“Our local communities are eager to make use of their Hudson River shorelines, but the scale of PCB contamination and the costs of remediation are simply too great for them to bear,” said Shimsky. “The EPA must live up to its promise and ensure that this 200-mile-long Superfund site is restored to safety for our residents, wildlife, and environment.”

In April, the EPA will release a five-year review of the Upper Hudson River dredging performed by General Electric, which has failed to achieve EPA goals for reduced PCB levels in the river sediment. GE released an estimated 1.3 million pounds of PCBs into the river from 1947 to 1977, near the towns of Fort Edward and Hudson Falls. PCBs are carcinogenic “forever” chemicals that accumulate in the food chain and biomagnify in animal and human tissue. Dangerous levels have been found as far south as New York Harbor, and the State has advisories currently in effect against eating fish caught in the Hudson River — due mainly to PCB pollution.

“We have millions of New Yorkers who live along the Hudson, and we need them to come out and speak against the EPA allowing PCBs to remain in the river,” Shimsky said. “The river must be dredged for the public health and safety of all of our communities.”

Shimsky and 42 colleagues in the State Legislature have issued a joint letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan, in which they denounced the “persistent environmental injustice through toxic PCB pollution” and “disproportionate and adverse human health and environmental burdens” borne by communities along the Hudson River.