As a former resident of an upstate New York community called Niskayuna, a suburb of Schenectady and global headquarters for General Electric’s research and development labs, I thoroughly enjoyed Yvonne Abraham’s acidic commentary about GE’s corporate cleanup efforts in Pittsfield (“Where GE’s name is mud,” Metro, June 11). Her description of GE’s stubborn battle with the Environmental Protection Agency to avoid pollution cleanup costs and the company’s willingness to employ deep-pocket strategies to break community resistance hit home for me.
In the upstate New York case, it was capacitor plants in Hudson Falls and Fort Edward that used the Hudson River as their public toilet for decades, contaminating the river and its aquatic life with PCBs. GE’s history in other Superfund sites reflects the same corporate principles: Internalize the benefits and externalize the costs. If you can trash the environment without paying for it, and it helps your return on investment, what’s to discuss? Isn’t this good business?
There are many citizens who expect more respect for the environment than GE historically has been willing to show. Hopefully, that may change.