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Housatonic River Mediation Moving Forward

Thursday, October, 18, 2018

General Electric Co.  and the US Environmental Protection Agency are funding mediation sessions concerning the Housatonic River cleanup project. 


The first mediation session has already occurred and more are in the works.  Despite the effort to resolve the problem, one GE plant in Pittsfield, Massachusetts is refusing to participate.  The plant contaminated the river with PCBs and Congress.  PCBs were banned in the 1970s by Congress because of their high toxicity. 


The EPA and GE have cleaned up the two mile stretch of the Housatonic that was contaminated, but the remainder of the cleanup plan is tied up in appeals.  Those who were part of the appeals process have been invited to participate in the mediation process and the stakeholders are hoping to keep it out of court.


Part of the debate concerns where the toxic waste will be put after it is dug up from the Housatonic.  The EPA wants to send it to an out-of-state facility, while GE wants to dispose of it nearby.


All issues within the cleanup project are up for discussion and could be determined via mediation.  Everyone involved in hoping the process resolves the problem once and for all and shortens the length of time it takes to reach an agreement.


Included in the mediation is the EPA, GE, six nearby communities, and two environmental groups.  Also included is one neighborhood group and the state of Connecticut.  The state of Massachusetts is refusing to participate.  The state’s environmental agency has agreed to provide information to the EPA, but will not be a part of the mediation, nor will it explain why it is refusing.