JOHN E. SWEENEY
February 27, 2001
22d District, New York
Ms. Carol W. LaGrasse
PO Box 75
Stony Creek, New York 12878-0075
Dear Ms. LaGrasse:
Thank you for your letter regarding the Environmental Protection
Agency's (EPA) decision to order the dredging and landfilling
of PCBs from the Hudson River. I certainly share your views on
Unfortunately, the EPA's recent announcement that it intends
to order the dredging of 2.6 million cubic yards of sediment
from the Hudson River raises more questions than answers. Where
and how will the 100,000 truckloads of toxic sediment be transported?
Where will toxic PCB treatment facilities be located? Will the
non-toxic portion of the dredged material be deposited in local
landfills? Is the five-year timetable for the dredging operation
realistic, given experiences in similar, smaller projects? The
EPA must address the serious disposal issues and their effects
on our communities prior to moving ahead with the dredging project
in our region.
Dredging is a drastic cleanup method that has the potential
to create even greater environmental hazards to the river's delicate
ecosystem. That is why I have urged the EPA to incorporate the
recently issued recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences
(NAS) on the risks of dredging. The NAS report states that the
"paramount consideration for PCB-sediment sites should be
management of overall risks to humans and the environment rather
than the selection of a remediation," such as dredging.
In response to a post-briefing question, the NAS Committee Chairman,
John W. Farrington, of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution,
stated that the dredging of hot spots in one affected area of
the river could result in migration of PCBs and the creation
of new hot spots down river. I have consistently said that sound
science should guide our path and that I cannot support any proposal
that does more environmental harm than good.
Once again, I appreciate your support on this important issue.
Should you have any additional questions or concerns, please
feel free to contact my office.