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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes the importance of having substantial participation from the Berkshire community in helping to shape the decisions regarding what could be done with the "Rest of River." This website is part of a public engagement and outreach program designed to fulfill that recognition.
EPA brought in Certus Strategies, a firm specializing in public outreach and consultation, to conduct assessment interviews of the needs and concerns of public stakeholders in Western Massachusetts and Northwestern Connecticut - with a focus on Berkshire County - relating to the next steps for the Rest of River. EPA asked Certus to interview stakeholders to identify core interests and concerns, and provide EPA their views about the cleanup efforts and how best to involve the Berkshire community.
As a result of Certus' assessment interviews, EPA has sponsored three evening Mini Workshops and a full day Public Charrette, which are described on the Workshops page. This website has been created by EPA to make information more easily available to the public so that the Berkshire community can fully engage in the Workshops and contribute to EPA's ongoing analysis of the Rest of River.
Also, EPA and the states of Massachusetts and Connecticut have been working cooperatively for the last several months to discuss potential approaches to clean up the Rest of River portion of the Housatonic River contaminated with pollutants from General Electricís former Pittsfield, Mass. facility. These discussions have focused, in part, on the need to address the risks from polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) to humans, fish, wildlife and other organisms while avoiding, mitigating or minimizing the impacts of the clean up on the unique ecological character of the Housatonic River. The What's New page provides links to videos of two public meetings held in May 2012 to discuss a status update on these discussions.
In addition to this website, additional background and technical information about the Housatonic River cleanup, including Rest of River issues, is available on the EPA's GE-Housatonic River Site webpage.