MarineLink: In June 2016, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) opened a public comment period regarding new anchorage zones in the Hudson River; usually a rather low-key set of issues. This proved different. Opponents jumped on the proposal – initially suggested by three maritime organizations – as a backdoor way to facilitate a huge expansion in crude oil shipments on the Hudson.
One year later, this past June, the Coast Guard decided to advance this difficult mix of issues through its PAWSA process – a Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment. The USCG describes the PAWSA as “a disciplined approach to identify major waterway safety hazards, estimate risk levels, and evaluate potential mitigation measures.” The move was welcomed by maritime and environmental groups.
Edward J. Kelly, Executive Director of the Maritime Association of the Port of NY/NJ, said “we are in favor of any process or forum that will clearly establish the facts.” For mariners, the anchorage zones are needed for safety, not facilitating commerce. Riverkeeper is a Hudson River environmental advocacy organization. It writes on its website that Riverkeeper is very much looking “forward to being part of this discussion, and we’re grateful to the Coast Guard for including us.” Scenic Hudson, another environmental group, expressed similar comments. Read more.