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GE is appealing a decision that would force it to transport contaminated soil from the Housatonic out of state.

Mass Delegation Calls on Pruitt to Uphold Rest of the River Plan

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The region's congressional delegation is pushing Environment Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt to uphold the EPA's 2016 order that contaminated material in the Housatonic River be "shipped off-site to existing licensed facilities for disposal."
 
U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Edward J. Markey and U.S. Rep. Richard Neal have sent a letter to Pruitt calling on him to ensure General Electric lives up to its commitments in the $613 million "Rest of the River" cleanup. 
 
Keeping the contaminated soil and sediment in the county would save GE roughly $250 million. 
 
GE, once a powerhouse in Pittsfield, left behind tons of polychlorinated biphenyls used in its transformer manufacturing between the 1930 and 1970s. The EPA has estimated thatup to 600,000 pounds of toxic PCBs, a suspected carcinogen, are left in the river and pose a threat to the region's health. 
 
Under conditions established in the Consent Decree and in the 2011 Final Removal Design & Action Plan, GE was required to finance the dredging of hundreds of cubic yards of "hot spot" sediment and additional shoreline sediment along Silver Lake in Pittsfield. The company also was ordered to address the estimated 1.3 million pounds of PCBs it discharged into the Hudson River in New York, an effort that's cost $1.7 billion. 
 
The "Rest of River" cleanup plan was initially proposed more than three years ago to address contamination in the Housatonic from Pittsfield through South County. It was vetted by the EPA and the state and was determined to be in the best interest of the people of Western Massachusetts. However, a critical component of the cleanup plan was recently called into question by the Environmental Appeals Board (EAB), which instructed the EPA to review requirements involving the location of toxic waste disposal from the clean-up. GE has fought this cleanup and appealed the EPA's Housatonic cleanup decision to the EAB.
 
"The EPA and Commonwealth have repeatedly stated that the contaminated material must be shipped off-site to existing licensed facilities for disposal -- and there is no such a facility in Massachusetts," wrote the members of congress. "To allow local disposal of GE's toxic waste scraped from the riverbed would be incompatible with Massachusetts state law and a complete disregard of the affected Massachusetts communities who have been plagued with this corporate pollution for far too long."
 
The EPA's proposal was for GE to remove nearly 1 million cubic yards of contaminated soil from the Housatonic over a period of 13 years. The $613 million plan would clean up 300 acres of the river and wetlands from Pittsfield into Connecticut. According to the plan, the soil would have to be taken to a licensed facility, but none exists in Massachusetts. 
 
"Completing the Housatonic River Project is about protecting our environment and public safety," the letter states. "This is about protecting the health of our families that deserve to be able to fish, hike and play alongside the river and its banks."
 

Mass Delegation Letter to EPA on 'Rest of the River' by iBerkshires.com on Scribd


Tags: Congress,   EPA,   GE,   PCBs,   Rest of the River,   

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Cultural Pittsfield This Week: Oct. 18-24

The 15th annual Pittsfield CityJazz Festival continues through Sunday, Oct. 20. The Dayramir Gonzalez Quartet will perform at Berkshire Museum on Friday, Oct. 18 at 7:30 p.m. The concert will be preceded by a wine bar that opens at 6:30 p.m. On Saturday, Oct. 19 at 7:30 p.m., The Colonial Theatre will host legendary vocalist Stephanie Nakasian and her daughter, Veronica Swift, in a rare pairing. The Berkshires Jazz Youth Ensemble will open.
 
 
MUSIC & NIGHTLIFE
Follow the yellow brick road to A Night in Emerald City and help Berkshire County Kids' Place raise critical funds. Enjoy dinner, entertainment, a silent auction and more, at the Country Club of Pittsfield. 5-8:30 p.m.
Plus... 
FRI MAD Crew Halloween Bash at The A | FRI The Equalites at The Colonial | FRI Story Slam (In a Slump) at Dottie's | FRI Andy Kelly at Bread & Roses Coffee House | FRI Pediatric Development Center Fundraiser w/Whiskey City at Proprietor's Lodge | FRI Blue Light Trio at Rainbow | FRI Spanish Guitarist Ben Schmolze at Mission | FRI Karaoke Night at Friends | FRI Sky Full of Dippers at Hotel on North | FRI Jay Boland at Proprietor's Lodge | FRI-SAT Wine, Cheese and Trees at Bousquet | SAT Generation X Rock at The A | SAT Lyndsay Anne at Proprietor's Lodge | SAT Django's Reserve at Mission | SAT Desserts & Live Music w/Hannah Bourdon at Dottie's | SUN Eagles Small Ensembles Concert at First United Methodist | MON Berkshire Athenaeum Book Club at Hotel on North | MON Jazz Night at Mission | WED Gruppo Mondo at Rainbow THU Comedian Gus Constantellis at The Colonial THU Haunted Hancock at Hancock Shaker Village THU Arrowhead After Dark | THU Throwback Thursday at Uncorked | THU Jim Witherell at Proprietor's Lodge | THU The Picky B's at Mission
 
FAMILY FRIENDLY
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