U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christie Whitman signed the Record of Decision on 1 February to clean up a stretch of the Hudson River that has been contaminated by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The decision calls for dredging 2 million cubic meters of PCB-contaminated sediment from a 64-kilometer stretch of the upper Hudson to remove about 68,000 kilograms of PCBs.

The plan follows years of scientific study about whether the PCBs were safely encased in the sediment or posed a continuing hazard, and concern over whether the PCBs can be safely removed without stirring up a larger pollution problem along the river. The EPA found that PCBs in the sediment are not safely buried because erosion and river flows can redistribute river sediment. The agency also found that although PCBs break down naturally over time, this degradation does not render them harmless.