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GE Agrees To $200 Million Pollution Settlement

Because of its use and disposal of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other hazardous substances at its plant in Pittsfield, Mass., General Electric Co. has agreed to a more than $200 million settlement. The agreement, announced by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice, calls for the cleanup of contaminated sediments from a one-half mile stretch of the Housatonic River nearest the plant. Through a cost-sharing agreement, GE also will fund much of the anticipated cost of an additional 1.5-mile river cleanup to be conducted by the EPA. After a cleanup plan is selected for downstream portions of the river, GE will perform that cleanup as well. GE also has agreed to pay $15 million in damages and to conduct a number of projects designed to acquire or enhance wildlife habitat. "I am pleased that GE has agreed to clean up the massive PCB contamination they have caused in Pittsfield," says Carol Browner, EPA administrator. "It's high time to begin the cleanup of the Housatonic River and take action to protect the health of the community."

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