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Great Lakes Article:

Lack of takers for Hudson sediment another reason to rethink dredging
The Saratogian
10/23/2002


The federal Environmental Protection Agency's decision to dredge PCBs from the Hudson River in Saratoga County is best described as half-baked.

After all, the EPA still doesn't know where the PCBs will go.

That's not stopping it from proceeding with its controversial and questionable plan to spend half a billion dollars to remove 2.65 million cubic yards of sediment and separate from it 50,000 pounds of PCBs.

Topping the list of places that definitely do not want the PCBs is Niagara County, home of the infamous Love Canal.

''We've paid our dues,'' said Bill Choboy, spokesman for a group called Residents for Responsible Government.

He's right.

Unfortunately for them, the Niagara County toxic waste landfill is the only one licensed in the Northeast to accept PCBs.

That's some honor.

The more-than-400-acre landfill is about a mile from the Niagara River and Lake Ontario and 10 miles from Niagara Falls, in the town of Porter. The possibility of taking the Hudson's PCBs is not being warmly received by all of the town's 7,000 residents.

To make the point, Niagara County residents are trying to make themselves heard in the Legislature, where bills have been introduced to prohibit dumping PCBs in their county. One Niagara County resident is in the midst of a roughly 350-mile walk from Albany to Porter, hoping to generate awareness about the issue.

PCBs are a possibly cancer-causing manufacturing byproduct that the General Electric Co. dumped into the Hudson for years. GE's convincing argument about not stirring up the PCBs by dredging was ignored by the EPA. So the plan is proceeding.

It could be another two or three years before the dredging gets under way. But before a spoonful of sediment is removed, the EPA must have a lucky recipient selected to accept it.

The lack of takers should be one more reason for the EPA to rethink its decision to not leave well enough alone.

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