September 13, 2019

At Nomination Hearing for the Next Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, Gillibrand Questions Nominee on Her Role In EPA’s Decision to Issue A Certificate of Completion for Dredging in the Hudson River, Despite Concerning Levels of Dangerous PCB Chemicals

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is a Natural Resources Trustee for the Hudson River Charged with Protecting Its Ecological Stability

**Watch EPW Committee Hearing Video HERE**

Washington, DC –  At a Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee hearing this week, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand questioned the nominee to be the next Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Aurelia Skipwith, on her role in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to issue a certificate of completion to General Electric (GE) for the Hudson River dredging. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is one of the Natural Resources Trustees for the Hudson River and is charged to act on behalf of the public for the restoration of the Hudson River following PCB (polychlorinated biphenyls) contamination.

“As you may be aware, the EPA recently finalized the certificate of completion for General Electric dredging of PCBs from the Hudson River. The Fish and Wildlife Service has been on record raising concerns about the continued ecological threat posed by PCBs remaining in the river and has called for additional remediation to remove more of the remaining PCBs from the Hudson,” Gillibrand said to Skipwith at the hearing. “This is a view shared by the State of New York, and there are real, legitimate concerns that GE’s dredging thus far has failed to accomplish the goal of protecting public health, and the environment.”

Gillibrand opposed the EPA’s decision to issue a certificate of completion for the dredging of the Hudson River following reports that PCB contamination caused by GE had not consistently improved since GE stopped cleanup efforts and that contaminants present in the river pose a risk to human health and the environment. At the hearing held earlier this week, Gillibrand called on Skipwith to commit to addressing the ongoing ecological impacts of PCBs that remain in the river.

Below are the questions that Senator Gillibrand asked during the hearing:

  1. Do you support the EPA’s decision to issue a Certificate of Completion for the Hudson River dredging? 
  2. Were you consulted by the EPA before they made the decision? 
  3. And do you think as the new director you will have the capacity to influence further decision making? 
  4. And do you have at this moment any ideas about what recommendations or what you could do to actually focus on the ongoing ecological impacts of PCBs that are remaining in the river. 
  5. Once you get your sea legs and you have the opportunity to review the issues, will you write a letter to my office about ways that you intend to pursue making sure that there is ecological stability in the Hudson River?