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EPA Extends Public Comment Period on New Information in Final Ecological Risk Assessment for GE Pittsfield / Housatonic River Site

Release Date: 12/03/2004
Contact Information:

Contact: David Deegan, EPA Press Office, (617) 918-1017
Angela Bonarrigo, EPA Community Affairs, (617) 918-1034

For Immediate Release: December 3, 2004; Release # dd04-12-01

BOSTON -- Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a 30-day extension to the public comment period for the revised Ecological Risk Assessment for the GE -- Pittsfield / Housatonic River Site. EPA will now accept public comment on new information which was added in response to Peer Review comments to the Ecological Risk Assessment for the GE Pittsfield / Housatonic River site through Jan. 18. The public comment period opened on Nov. 17.

The area evaluated in the assessment, known as the Rest of River, generally refers to the Housatonic River, its sediments and floodplain areas from the confluence of the East and West Branches in Pittsfield, downstream to the extent of contamination that originated from the GE facility. The assessment is one in a series of reports being prepared by EPA as part of the Consent Decree entered into four years ago by General Electric, EPA and other government agencies.

"We encourage interested individuals to take this opportunity to review and comment on the new information in this important document," said Robert W. Varney, EPAs regional administrator of the New England regional office.

The revisions to the Ecological Risk Assessment follow EPA's Responsiveness Summary which addressed the written comments from the independent Peer Review Panel. The panel reviewed the draft Ecological Risk Assessment and comments provided to the panel by General Electric and other members of the community.

During the comment period, the public is requested to comment on only the new information contained in the risk assessment regarding risks to animals that live in or visit the river or floodplain.
A complete list of the new information, the revised Risk Assessment, and the Responsiveness Summary can be reviewed at the following locations:

      Berkshire Athenaeum Public Library Reference Department, Pittsfield, MA
      Simons Rock College of Bard Library, Great Barrington, MA
      Cornwall Public Library, Cornwall, CT
      Kent Memorial Library (Kent Library Association), Kent, CT
      Housatonic Valley Association, Cornwall Bridge, CT
      EPA Records Center, One Congress Street, Suite 1100, Boston, MA

The revised Ecological Risk Assessment is also available at: http://www.epa.gov/ne/ge/ under "Rest of River" reports.