Poughkeepsie Journal Editorial Board: Protectors of the Hudson River – and that should be all of us – caught a big break recently when the U.S. Coast Guard pronounced it was backing off a potentially disastrous plan to designate as many as 10 commercial shipping anchorages on the river.
The federal agency had been considering an industry-backed scheme to designate these anchorages, including places in Kingston, Milton, Newburgh and Port Ewen. If implemented, this idea could clutter the river with huge vessels carrying volatile materials, such as crude oil, and dropping anchor near vulnerable riverside communities. The risks of spills and the possibility of contaminating municipal water sources would be far too great to allow that.
The Coast Guard instead says it will conduct a safety assessment of the river. But it also has not ruled out proposing new anchorages; it merely has suspended this decision until the review is done, something opponents must keep in mind. And it’s all the more reason why the State of New York, which also is responsible for the river’s health, should move decisively now. The state Legislature has acted responsibly, approving a bill to strengthen New York’s standing to halt anchorages from being allowed in inappropriate spots, but this prudent measure has not become law yet. Read more.