The Hudson River and PCB Pollution The Hudson River is a body of water that stretches for 315 miles from the Adirondack Mountains to the Battery in Manhattan, reaching its deepest point of 216 feet in the Highlands near Constitution Island and West Point and reaches its widest point of 3 miles across at Havestraw. This river is one of the most beautiful and scenic of the Tri-State area. Unfortunately, it happens to be New York's most polluted river. The river has been influenced upon since the early 1600's, when Englishman Henry Hudson commanded the Dutch ship Half Moon on an exploration of the river, certain that he had discovered a trade route to China. It soon dawned that this was no Atlantic-to-Pacific passage but an Edenlike place of awesome potential-a river valley teeming with prospect and spirit that was worth fighting for. In the centuries that followed, the fight for the river and its commerce never stopped, and still continues to the present. Then during the Industrial Revolution, with the advent of hulking manufacturing plants on the riverbanks, everything changed. The river became a sewer, cut off from the people around it by the electrification of the railroads. The 1825 completion of the Erie Canal instantly opened trade to the Midwest by linking Troy to Buffalo and established the Hudson River as the major commerce channel for New York City. Tycoons transformed the landscape in New York and across the country with the railroad, and the Hudson River valley became a hotbed for iron mining, limestone quarrying and clear-cutting. Toward the 19th century, when dynamite blasting was reducing the face of the Palisades to rubble, conservationists became alarmed that something was being lost to progress. In 1900, New York and New Jersey established the Palisades Interstate Park Commission to preserve the cliffs from further quarrying. Although conservation efforts continued into the 20th century, there was no progress... [continues]
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