Pittsfield, Mass., officials are concerned about harming GE Plastics' ability to recruit employees to its headquarters city, should the Environmental Protection Agency designate a former General Electric Co. plant as a Superfund cleanup site.
The EPA is scheduled to decide March 30 whether the site, which is contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyl, will receive Superfund status.
Pittsfield is world headquarters for GE Plastics, GE Plastics Americas and GE Plastics Structured Products, which combined employ 700 in the city.
The contaminated site, which closed in the mid-1980s, made electrical transformers. It is not affiliated with GE Plastics but is adjacent to the GE Plastics offices.
``No one has threatened to pull jobs out; that's not the issue,'' said Christopher Speranzo, an aide to Pittsfield Mayor Gerald Doyle. ``The issue is if being designated a Superfund site will make it more difficult for GE Plastics to bring in quality workers and graduates, or if people won't be willing to move their families here.''
GE Plastics spokesman Bob Hess said the company has no plans to relocate, but he acknowledged the problems a Superfund designation could pose.
``It's a question of, can you get people to come to work at a Superfund site,'' Hess said in a telephone interview. ``That's a concern of GE Plastics and a lot of businesses in town.''
Speranzo added that GE Plastics ``brings a good-sized number of high-skill, high-tech jobs that are important to the city,'' but that other businesses trying to draw employees to the area could be hurt as well.
General Electric spokesman David Warshaw said the company has spent more than $110 million since 1981 to clean up the site, including the removal of 750,000 gallons of PCB-contaminated oil.
``We've said from the start that we believe Superfund is not the right answer for Pittsfield,'' Warshaw said.
``Superfund's record is one of delays and higher costs,'' he added.
GE Plastics is the leading North American producer of polycarbonate and ABS and also manufactures a variety of engineering resins. The company posted sales of $6.7 billion in 1997.
EPA officials in Boston could not be reached for comment.