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EPA Suggests 'Mediated Conversations' To Address Housatonic River Cleanup

The New England EPA is suggesting mediation may help speed up the clean up of the Housatonic River. 

Early this year, the U.S. EPA's Environmental Appeals Board upheld most of the regional EPA's plan to clean up cancer-causing PCBs from the river -- except for disposing them outside of New England in a federally approved site. That would cost about $250 million.

General Electric wants to dispose of the PCBs in the Berkshires. The New England EPA is submitting a stronger argument for out of state disposal.

Alexandra Dunn, the regional head of the EPA, wants to invite stakeholders in the river clean up for mediation this summer -- just as the federal appeals board is reviewing the case.

"If mediated conversations could result in even incremental work that might occur while some of the larger issues are being discussed, that would be progress towards a healthier river," Dunn said.

In the Berkshires this week, Dunn heard from officials in river communities that they don't want to dispose the waste there.

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