Dredging critic to speak in Catskill

In last December's issue of Harper's magazine, reporter David Cargill fired a shot across the bow of the $1-billion-plus effort to clean the Hudson River of cancer-causing PCBs by dredging: The General Electric Superfraud: Why the Hudson River will never run clean. It's subscriber-only, but the gist is this, according to an article in the Saratogian: The ground underneath GE's plants on the banks of the river is so contaminated that dredging isn't going to clean up the river.

 Gargill’s conclusion is by no means that dredging should be stopped; rather, he believes that the Superfund site should be expanded to include the former plants and much of the surrounding area. That expansion would address what experts have told him is the root of the problem.

“The river is being steadily contaminated,” he said in an interview Thursday.

“At best, the dredging is beginning to look like a billion dollar gamble if you don’t take care of that other site.”

Whether or not you buy Gargill's controversial argument, you'll have the chance to grill him on it on July 10, when he'll appear at the Beattie-Powers House in Catskill as part of their summer environmental series, RIVER.AIR.ACTION. (Here's a story on the series from the Catskill Daily Mail.)

The series will also include Michael O'Hara of Sustainable Hudson Valley, speaking on local efforts to fight climate change, and Susan Falzon of Friends of Hudson, on what the effort to bring the LaFarge cement plant in Ravena into the 21st century means for community involvement in industry environmental problems.