The Environmental Protection Agency is working concurrently on two parallel tracks to come up with a final cleanup and disposal agreement for General Electric’s remediation of the “Rest of the River”stretch of the Housatonic River.

The Berkshire Edge reports the agency has initiated mediation proceedings, while, at the same time, it is continuing administrative proceedings with the Environmental Appeals Board of EPA that may end in litigation.

In a few weeks, a mediator from Washington, D.C. – chosen by mutual agreement of EPA and GE – will sit down with the parties who challenged the EPA cleanup permit. The mediator, attorney John Bickerman, says that he will begin a fact-finding process.Meanwhile, EPA Region I lawyers are working on revising the permit, which was remanded to the agency by the Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) in January.

Either the parties will reach agreement, or the permit governing dredging and disposal of soil and sediments contaminated by PCBs will likely be challenged in federal court.

(photo credit, David Scribner and the Berkshire Edge)