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Release Date: 08/04/1997
Contact Information: Alice Kaufman, EPA Press Office, 617-918-1064

Today, I have taken the first step to list the Housatonic River and the GE facility in Pittsfield, MA as a national priority under Superfund. This step assures Berkshire County that this site will be cleaned up to high environmental standards and it lays the groundwork for successful economic redevelopment.

My decision comes after much thought and extensive consultation with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, General Electric, the Congressional delegation, and members of the Berkshire County environmental and business communities.

Even as we take the necessary steps to give EPA it's most powerful tool to guarantee that these contaminated sites are cleaned up, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner David Struhs, GE officials and I are designing a framework and process for intense and expeditious negotiations to take place between now and February 1, 1998. My goal for these negotiations is threefold:

    • a detailed plan for environmental remediation of contaminated sites,
    • an economic redevelopment blueprint for the GE site, and
    • the identification of a full suite of natural resource damage restoration projects.

      We expect to achieve these goals.


      If we do, I will pull the site out of the Superfund listing process. If negotiations break down, the Superfund listing will proceed. I hope that through a cooperative, professional and disciplined approach, we will reach an agreement that will allow us to proceed without the need for a final Superfund listing. But, by today's action, I am insuring that if the negotiations are not successful, EPA will have the authority to direct a full cleanup and the natural resource trustees will have the legal standing to achieve their obligations to Berkshire County. To reach this goal, we want and need the full involvement in this process of the elected officials, the environmental and business communities, and interested citizens of Pittsfield and Berkshire County.