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State official: EPA poised to OK GE’s Hudson River cleanup

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FILE- In this Jan. 16, 2018, file photo the General Electric logo is displayed at the top of their Global Operations Center in the Banks development of downtown Cincinnati. General Electric Co. reports financial results Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

New York’s top environmental official said the federal government is poised to determine that General Electric met its goal of cleaning the Hudson River, despite opposition from environmentalists and state officials.

Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos told the Albany Times Union editorial board on Thursday that his office has been in contact with the Environmental Protection Agency over a potential finding that GE’s $1.7 billion cleanup of the river satisfies a 2002 agreement between EPA and the Boston-based company. The “certificate of completion” could absolve GE of further liability for polychlorinated biphenyls remaining in the river.

EPA spokesman Elias Rodriguez said federal officials have not decided on the completion ruling, but they “hope to come to some conclusions in the near term.”

Seggos, his boss Gov. Andrew Cuomo and a number of environmental groups believe that PCB levels remain too high in the river despite the multi-year cleanup. They want the EPA to require GE to resume work on the river.

A state report released in December on the latest sampling data said PCB levels remain too high in fish and river sediments.

“This should be a significant barrier to EPA issuing this finding to GE,” Seggos told the newspaper.

GE completed removal of 2.75 million cubic yards (2.1 million cubic meters) of PCB-contaminated river sediment north of Albany in 2015.

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