Ryan, Molinaro vow to join lawsuit against EPA over Hudson cleanup

County executives from across the aisle and across the Hudson River announced this month that their counties – Ulster and Dutchess – will file a supporting brief in the state’s lawsuit demanding the federal government order more PCB dredging in the Hudson.

State Attorney General Letitia James brought the case against the Environmental Protection Agency to contest its approval of General Electric’s removal of river muck laden with tons of toxic PCBs that GE’s factory dumped into the river long ago. State officials, environmental groups and others have denounced the EPA’s “certification of completion,” contending that too much contamination remains and the company must continue its dredging.

That stance found bipartisan support from Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan, a Democrat, and Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, a Republican. They dramatized that alliance this month by meeting on the Walkway Over the Hudson, a pedestrian bridge over the Hudson that connects their two counties, and announcing they will file an amicus brief siding with the state against the EPA.

“The fight to protect our Hudson River started the modern environmental movement,” Ryan said in a statement. “Today we are coming together as two counties to continue that fight. We can’t let General Electric off the hook for the mess they made of our precious Hudson River.”

Molinaro, who was the Republican candidate for governor in 2018, said: “For generations, communities on both sides of the river have relied on it for drinking water, fishing, recreation, tourism and commerce.  Our communities have proudly shared the responsibility to care, advocate and fight for this piece of our home and way of life.  Today, we are once again coming together and vowing to take every step we can to hold the EPA and polluters accountable.”

James, who filed her federal lawsuit in August, thanked the two county executives in their press release and said, “GE and the EPA are either in denial or simply don’t care about how dangerous the PCBs in the Hudson River truly are, and the threat they pose to public health.”

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