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What it’s all about
The proposal comes at the request of the Maritime Association of the Port of New York/New Jersey, which represents various interests in the shipping and petroleum industries. The Association says that more anchorage grounds will improve navigation safety along portions of the Hudson River where there are currently few or no anchorages.
In its letter to the Coast Guard, the Association points out that barge traffic “has increased dramatically” over the past few years — due largely to the influx of fracking oil arriving by rail at the Port of Albany — and this traffic will increase “significantly over the next few years” due to the recent lifting of the ban on exporting crude oil.
Opponents of the proposal argue that the anchorages, which provide 42 long-term mooring berths (and one short-term), will turn into parking lots for barges, facilitate more commercial traffic, and “reindustrialize” the Hudson.
The barges pollute the river with their noisy generators and “stadium” lighting, and their anchors drag on the river bottom, which damages the habitats of endangered fish species. An increase in commercial traffic also puts recreational boaters in danger. Most worrisome of all is that more oil barges on the Hudson will increase the risks of a catastrophic spill.
The Coast Guard is seeking public comments and information about the operational need for new anchorage grounds, what form possible regulations should take, and the potential impacts on riverside communities. Everyone is encouraged to file comments with the Coast Guard, which has extended the deadline from Sept. 7 to Dec. 6, 2016.
Coast Guard Postings Regarding Suspension of the Rulemaking Process on the Anchorage Proposal and Initiation of the Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment process
On June 29, 2017, the U.S. Coast Guard posted three documents on Regulations.gov regarding its decision about the anchorage proposal.
- Press Release: “Coast Guard announces Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment on Hudson River”
- Editorial by Steven D. Poulin, Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard, Commander First Coast Guard District
- Memo summarizing public comments
On September 8, 2017, the Coast Guard issued a press release announcing the details of the Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment on Hudson River.
- On November 7-8, a workshop will be held in the Mid-Hudson region.
- On November 15-16, a workshop will be held in Albany, New York.
- Coast Guard experts will host two informational PAWSA webinars on Oct. 18, at 10 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.
Information about the Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment (PAWSA) Workshops can be found here:
Comments to the Coast Guard
Legislation restricting the anchorage
Hudson Valley elected officials have been working on legislation that addresses the threat posed by the Coast Guard’s proposal to establish ten new anchorage grounds on the Hudson River. Several environmental groups have issued memoranda of support for this legislation, and some local governments have also passed resolutions supporting the bills. Here are some links:
- H. R.1504, The Hudson River Protection Act
- A.6825A and S.5197B
- Scenic Hudson memo of support
- NYLCV memo of support
- NRDC memo of support
- Environmental Advocates letter of support
- Catskill Mountainkeeper letter of support
- Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter memo of support
- Peekskill Resolution on Anchorage Avoidance Legislation
- Town of Marlborough Resolution on Anchorage Avoidance Legislation
- Village of South Nyack Resolution
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