Faced with a choice between General Electric protesting from the outside or the inside, the EPA has decided to invite the corporation into the process for determining a cleanup of PCBs in the Housatonic River south of Pittsfield’s Fred Garner Park. We trust the EPA is going in with eyes wide open.
Although EPA New England Region Administrator Curt Spalding told The Eagle on Friday that the decision to meet with GE in the weeks ahead was unrelated to the corporation’s statement last month accusing the EPA of a "rush to judgment" that could lead to "years of conflict and delay," it is clear that he hopes to avoid conflict and delay by meeting GE face to face. That may help find the middle ground between an extensive cleanup like the one in Pittsfield that is too damaging for the rest of the river and an inadequate cleanup likely to be favored by GE. PCBs were released into the river by GE from its former transformer plant in Pittsfield.
General Electric’s loyalty is to its bottom line and its shareholders, which it makes no bones about. Mr. Spalding’s responsibility in the Rest of River cleanup south to Connecticut is to the Berkshires and the Housatonic, and we trust he will, as he promised at The Eagle, insist upon a cleanup that does justice to both.