1. Resolution No. 10

Calling For A More Thorough Removal Of PCBs From The Hudson River

Resolution Information




Legislator Manna Jo Greene and Legislators Bartels, Donaldson, Gregorius,

Loughran, and Rodriguez offer the following:

WHEREAS, the Hudson River is an American Heritage River, and the Valley

a National Heritage Area, and the health and beauty of the Hudson River is critical to

the economic vitality of the communities surrounding it, as well as the state and the

country at large; and

WHEREAS, nearly 200 miles of the Hudson River — from Hudson Falls to

New York City — are a federal Superfund site because the General Electric

Corporation (GE) discharged large quantities of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

from two of its manufacturing plants for thirty years, between 1947 and 1977; and

WHEREAS, PCBs are manmade, bioaccumulative, persistent organic

pollutants that have been linked to a wide variety of adverse health effects, including,

among others: cancer, liver, and kidney disorders; reduced birth weight, conception

rates, and live birth rates; persistent and significant deficits in neurological

development, including visual recognition, short-term memory and learning; and

developmental problems due to interference with thyroid hormone levels; and

WHEREAS, PCBs discharged by GE are present throughout the Hudson

River ecosystem: in soils and sediments within the river and the surrounding

floodplains; in the living tissues of wildlife, from low-level organisms to larger

animals such as birds and fish; and, periodically, suspended in the river itself or in

the air; and

WHEREAS, human beings may be exposed to PCBs by a variety of means,

including eating PCB-contaminated fish or other contaminated foods, breathing in

airborne PCBs, drinking PCB-contaminated water, or skin contact with PCB-laden

soils; and

WHEREAS, in additi

WHEREAS, the continued presence of PCBs in the Hudson River has also

diminished the use and enjoyment of those who currently use the river, as

exemplified by the longstanding NY State Department of Health (DOH) fish

advisories against the consumption of recreationally caught fish and the numerous

government-posted signs along the river warning of the presence of PCBcontaminated soils and sediments; and

WHEREAS, EPA determined in 2000 as part of its Reassessment Remedial

Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS) for the Hudson River Superfund Site that

PCBs in the upper Hudson were a “dominant source” of “the PCB load to the water

column of the Upper Hudson River,” and that microbial breakdown (natural

attenuation) will not rid the River of PCBs; and

WHEREAS, the EPA’s 2002 Record of Decision for the Hudson River Site

selected environmental dredging and off-site disposal of PCB-contaminated sediment

from the Upper Hudson River as the best river sediment remedy to reestablish the

ecological and economic health of the Hudson River; and

WHEREAS, since July of 2002, GE has agreed to a series of administrative

orders of consent and has entered into a consent decree with EPA, all in which it has

agreed to perform activities needed for implementation of the selected remedial

action for river sediments; and

WHEREAS, this remedy segmented the Upper Hudson River into three

sections by latitude, with a more stringent cleanup standard applied to River Section

1 than to River Sections 2 or 3; and

WHEREAS, GE commenced the first phase of remedial dredging in 2009, and

the second and final phase in 2011; and

WHEREAS, in 2011, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric

Administration and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service—the two federal agencies,

along with the State of New York, entrusted with assessing the cost of GE’s “natural

resource damage” liability for public losses incurred as a result of GE’s pollution of

the Hudson River (the “Trustees”)—published reports identifying a number of

problems with the 2002 river sediment remedy as implemented; and

WHEREAS, these problems included, among others: that failure to apply the

more stringent criteria in River Sections 2 and 3, in practice, would leave behind the

“equivalent to a series of Superfund-caliber sites” in those sections with average

surface concentrations at “five times higher after remediation than predicted by the

2002 remedy;” that “the majority of the elevated post-construction sediment

concentrations are adjacent to planned dredge areas” resulting in “the high likelihood

of remediated areas becoming recontaminated;” that the rate of decline of PCBs in

fish “was significantly overestimated” by earlier EPA models; and that unremediated

sediments “will eliminate significant opportunities for restoration of natural resources

in precisely those locations where it would be most valuable;” and

WHEREAS, despite t

WHEREAS, these significant economic opportunities can only be unlocked by

a robust cleanup of the Hudson that addresses contaminated sediments overlooked by

the 2002 Record of Decision as well as other contaminated areas within and around

the Hudson River; now, therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Ulster County Legislature hereby urges a more

thorough removal of PCBs from the Hudson River and calls upon GE to: (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) 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; and be it further

RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution will be sent to Jeffrey Immelt,

Chairman and CEO, General Electric Corporation; New York State Governor

Andrew Cuomo; NYS Office of the Attorney General; 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 and

the Hudson River Congressional Delegation,

and move its adoption.


AYES: 20 NOES: 2

(Noes: Legislators Maio and Ronk)

(Absent: Legislator Gerentine)

Passed Committee: Committee of the Whole on January 7, 2015






I, the undersigned Clerk of the Legislature of the County of Ulster, hereby certify that the foregoing resolution is

the original resolution adopted by the Ulster County Legislature on the 7th Day of January in the year Two Thousand and

Fifteen, and said resolution shall remain on file in the office of said clerk.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and seal of the County of Ulster this 9th Day of January

in the year Two Thousand and Fifteen.

|s| Victoria A. Fabella

Victoria A. Fabella, Clerk

Ulster County Legislature

Current Text: PDF



Updated: October 8, 2020