Local Environmental Groups Criticize EPA Plan For Housatonic Clean-Up

A new plan by the Environmental Protection Agency to clean up a contaminated stretch of the Housatonic River near Pittsfield is being criticized by several local environmental groups. Tim Gray of the Housatonic River Initiative says he is concerned about the use of capping, a process used to cover up and contain chemicals on the river bottom.

“There’s going to be a lot of capping, which in a river system like the Housatonic is a little disturbing because we think that it’s not really going to work in the long term,” said Gray. “We also are worried about the fact that they are not going to be cleaning up sensitive habitats.”

The EPA is waiting on a response from General Electric, which released the toxic chemicals into the river between the 1930’s and 1970’s. An official from the EPA’s New England office says if G.E. does not approve of the plan, the company will be entitled to a legal appeal, but that the EPA will have the final say. General Electric has until early September to respond.

A public information session will be held on June 18 in Lenox.

Tom Relihan contributed to this report.