GE finally agrees to clean up PCBs in Hudson River

Are we ecomagining things? General Electric Co. has finally agreed to dredge the PCBs it long ago dumped in the upper Hudson River of New York state, nearly 30 years after the contamination was discovered. With 43 miles of tainted river bottom to tend and total costs estimated at $700 million, it will be one of the biggest and most expensive industrial cleanups in history — although it’s still unclear how much GE will do. The company has committed to Phase One — removing the worst-contaminated deposits, about 10 percent of all PCB-laced sediments — but won’t make a decision about Phase Two’s dredging of less-contaminated mud until Phase One is complete. Some eco-advocates fear GE may yet weasel out of cleaning up the bulk of its mess. “It looks like there’s a loophole big enough to drive dredging barges through,” says the Sierra Club’s Chris Ballantyne. But federal officials insist they’ve reserved the right to force GE to do the entire job — or bill the company millions for cleaning it up themselves.