POUGHKEEPSIE – State Attorney General Letitia “Tish” James told the Dutchess County Bar Association in Poughkeepsie Thursday night that her office is going after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The attorney general was the keynote speaker at the association “Law Day” dinner. She told the audience of lawyers, judges, and community leaders that she will be seeking to overturn a recent EPA declaration that the Hudson River is no longer contaminated by PCBs. That claim, James said, is refuted by “study after study and test after test” that the river is still polluted with the harmful contaminants.
“It is important that all of you understand what the EPA is doing to the Hudson Valley right now,” said James early in her remarks. According to the AG, the EPA issued a declaration that the cleanup of toxic chemicals, namely PCBs, in the Hudson River was complete. “The river still contains dangerous levels of these chemicals that put communities in the Hudson Valley and throughout the state at serious risk – and my fundamental duty is to protect New Yorkers and that is why my office plans to sue the EPA over this decision,” said James to a round of applause from the audience.
“We have a proprietary interest in protecting the Hudson River and New York citizens from the dangers posed by the presence of hazardous substances in the environment and we are also publicly opposing of punishing cuts to the EPA that are essential to its operations, and, are essential to addressing climate change and I will continue to take action against any and every force that threatens our state.”
One audience member that applauded the attorney general’s decision to pursue litigation against the EPA was Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro. “The attorney general is absolutely correct. The EPA has abandoned its responsibility to the people of the Hudson Valley, the future of the Hudson River Valley and the State of New York is right to take legal action. Dutchess County was among the first to join in calling for the EPA to do the right thing – the EPA didn’t!”
He said the region has “one chance to get this right and we will not allow us to slide back. We’ve reoriented communities, economies, and people around the Hudson River and it’s time to clean it up entirely.”