Barges Carrying Oil and Asphalt Now Have Free Rein on the Hudson North of Westchester, Worrying Local Officials

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The Daily Catch: Barges can again anchor without restriction along the Hudson River in Dutchess and Ulster counties for the first time since 2021 after a change by the U.S. Coast Guard.

But politicians and environmentalists are already fighting the change, saying unrestricted anchorage will threaten the region’s ecosystem and the safety of the roughly 100,000 residents who rely on the river for drinking water.

Officials from Hudson River communities are expressing concern that the anchored barges, which often transport cargo like oil and asphalt, could pollute the drinking water of Rhinebeck, Poughkeepsie, Hyde Park, Esopus, and Lloyd, all of which draw their drinking water from the river. Those communities are represented by an advocacy group called Hudson 7, chaired by Rhinebeck Village Mayor Gary Bassett. Red Hook does not get any drinking water from the Hudson.

“We have significant concerns with new anchorage locations in our watershed that could impact our drinking water intakes and critical habitat areas,” Bassett said in a statement. “We want restrictions to limit any risk of accidents and spills of hazardous products in the reach of our intakes that could imperil our water supply.”

Read more: Barges Carrying Oil and Asphalt Now Have Free Rein on the Hudson North of Westchester, Worrying Local Officials – The Daily Catch

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