Governor George E. Pataki announced the creation of a Hudson River Task Force to review issues related to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) plan to remove PCBs from the river and make recommendations on specific aspects of the cleanup.
"When we announced our support for the EPA plan to remove PCBs from the river, we promised New Yorkers that we would make sure our upriver communities are protected, and that is exactly what we will do," Governor Pataki said. "As the remediation to restore our magnificent Hudson River to its full potential moves forward, we will continue to work closely with the EPA to ensure that the needs and interests of local communities are given full consideration."
The task force will allow State officials to discuss critical issues with local communities and other stakeholders, share ideas and information, and help the state convey its concerns and views to EPA, ensuring that the cleanup of this historic waterway is fully protective of Hudson River communities.
The task force will be chaired by State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Erin M. Crotty. Other members include representatives of Congressmen John Sweeney; New York State Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno, New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Saratoga County Board of Supervisors Chair Robert Hall, Washington County Board of Supervisors Chair Donald Cummings, New York State AFL-CIO, Friends of a Clean Hudson, the Adirondack Regional Chambers of Commerce, the New York Farm Bureau, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Columbia Earth Institute of Columbia University, and New York State Departments of Health and Agriculture & Markets. The task force anticipates seeking the advice of other interested parties on an ad hoc basis as issues evolve.
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Crotty said, "Governor Pataki has been a leading advocate for the cleanup and restoration of the Hudson River, and he is committed to ensuring that the EPA's remediation of the river addresses the needs and concerns of local communities. The task force will help the State work effectively with EPA to create a cleaner and healthier Hudson River."
The EPA formally issued its Record of Decision (ROD), or final remedy, in February 2002 and immediately began the design phase of this project. The design is expected to take approximately three years. During this phase, the State, local communities and other stakeholders will have the opportunity to comment on items, including siting and design of sediment processing and transfer facilities; the design and implementation of measures to mitigate any potential adverse impacts of the remedial work on the public, the environment and local communities; and the evaluation of performance monitoring data during remedy implementation.
The EPA will be developing an enhanced community involvement program, which will offer opportunities for meaningful public involvement, incorporating the views of local communities, the State and stakeholders. This program will help EPA identify and mitigate any potential adverse impacts of the remedial work on the public, local communities and the environment.
The EPA's remediation plan for the Hudson River will be conducted in two phases, with work expected to last six years. Following the active remediation, there will be extensive monitoring of fish, water and sediment from the Hudson River to determine the short- and long-term impacts of the remedial work.