LoHud.com: In a stunning about-face on June 28, the U.S. Coast Guard announced it will “suspend future rulemaking decisions” regarding 10 anchorages, with spaces for 43 oil barges, on the Hudson River, while it conducts a Port and Waterways Safety Assessment, a study of river navigation issues. But that study and much more are required to ensure protection of the Hudson Valley, as the Environmental Policy Clinic of Pace University’s Dyson College warned Coast Guard Commandant Paul F. Zukunft more than seven months ago.
In December, Pace Clinic students wrote Adm. Zukunft requesting he withdraw the proposed anchorage plan because his agency had not complied with its procedural manual, Waterways Management: Anchorage Management Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures, which requires a safety assessment.
Had the Coast Guard conducted the safety assessment in the first place, it could have saved the public considerable time, expense and worry. The tug and barge industry’s allegation that special anchorages would address an unproven surge in safety problems was suspect at best. More likely, the anchorages were intended as 43 parking spaces for Bakken oil. But the Coast Guard published the industry claim as its own in the Federal Register, refused public and media requests for more information, and declined repeated invitations to participate in public meetings. Read more.