Hudson River anchorage plan dead and Rep. Maloney adds nails to coffin

Hudson River anchorage plan dead and Rep. Maloney adds nails to coffin

lohud.com: U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney declared the Hudson River anchorage proposal dead at a waterfront news conference Monday afternoon.

He’s planning to keep it that way.

The Cold Spring Democrat, with constituents on both sides of the river, said he put language in a $1.2 trillion spending package being considered by Congress that would cut the legs off any anchorage plan for the next year

“That is language we’re going to try and include in this spending bill as a sort of belt and suspenders approach to make sure we’re putting one more nail in the coffin of this bad idea,” Maloney said.

He was flanked by local officials including Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano, Westchester County Executive George Latimer and his colleague in Congress, U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel, D-Bronx.  Read more.

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New Anchorage Proposals will be Opposed

New Anchorage Proposals will be Opposed

HVNN.com: After the Coast Guard released a final Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment (PAWSA) report which did not recommend the installation of new anchorages on the Hudson River, Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18), other elected officials, and local stakeholders vowed to oppose any potential future anchorage proposals and to hold the Coast Guard to the results of its own PAWSA report.

The PAWSA was initiated by the Coast Guard after Rep. Maloney led local groups to kill an initial proposal made in 2016. The PAWSA process provided an opportunity for all relevant stakeholders to hold comprehensive discussions on safety risks in the Hudson River, but its results are not legally binding.

“This is another huge win and one more nail in the coffin for this unnecessary and dangerous proposal. We expect the Coast Guard to keep fidelity to the PAWSA process that they initiated, and if they don’t, they’ll have us to answer to,” said Rep. Maloney. “We won’t take our eyes of the ball when it comes to the anchorages, and we’ll keep working to make sure the proposal stays dead.”  Read more.

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Coast Guard scuttles Hudson River anchorage proposal, at least for now (Media Roundup)

Coast Guard scuttles Hudson River anchorage proposal, at least for now (Media Roundup)

Today the U.S. Coast Guard issued its report on the Hudson River Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment (PAWSA) workshops held in November 2017.  The gist is that the proposal to establish many new anchorages has been suspended, at least for now.  Here are some of the news articles that came out today about the report.

Coast Guard Wise to Avoid for Now Citizen-Opposed Hudson Anchorages and Pursue Other …

Scenic Hudson: HUDSON VALLEY , N.Y.—Today the U.S. Coast Guard issued its report on the Hudson River Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment (PAWSA) workshops held in November 2017.  Read more.

Coast Guard scuttles Hudson River anchorage proposal

Daily News: KINGSTON, N.Y. (AP) — A proposal to allow up to 43 crude oil barges to anchor in the Hudson River south of Albany has been scuttled after the U.S. Coast Guard issued a 77-page report on the issue.  Read more.

Coast Guard noncommittal on oil barge future for Hudson River

Albany Times Union: Controversial shelved plans to allow crude oil barges to anchor in the Hudson River were kept in limbo in a U.S. Coast Guard study issued Tuesday.  Read more.

Coast Guard report says more time needed to reach conclusion about Hudson River anchorage …

Kingston Daily Freeman: The Coast Guard has not yet made any decisions regarding establishing anchorages or using other waterways-management tools to manage navigation risk on the Hudson River ,” the report states. “The Coast Guard will use this … report, together with other information, to determine whether, and to what …  Read more.

Coast Guard: Hudson River anchorage proposal off the table

Lohud: The Coast Guard has scuttled a plan to allow new commercial shipping anchorages along the Hudson River — but environmental advocates say the fight is not over.…  Read more.

Coast Guard says, for now, no new Hudson River anchorages

MidHudsonNews.com: ALBANY – The US Coast Guard, Tuesday, issued its report on the Hudson River Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment and determined that allowing additional commercial anchorages on the Hudson River between Yonkers and Kingston was not an agreed upon recommendation to come from two …   Read more.

Coast Guard: No New Anchorages on Hudson, For Now

NRDC: The United States Coast Guard issued its Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment (PAWSA) Report for the Hudson River yesterday. Notably, it did not include a plan to add additional anchorages, places for ships to anchor, along any part of the Hudson River, making this the latest victory in our campaign to protect the river from further industrialization.   Read more.

Coast Guard: No decision on new Hudson River anchorages

Workboat: The Coast Guard has deferred any decision on creating new barge anchorages on New York’s Hudson River, after months of study and intense political pressure from opponents of the proposal.

A new Hudson River Safety, Navigation and Operations Committee is already one outcome from a pair of big stakeholder meetings the Coast Guard convened at Albany and Poughkeepsie in November 2017.

As for new anchorages, that thorny subject is being put off, for the time being. The Coast Guard had sought to resolve conflicts using the Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment (PAWSA) process, a workshop and dialogue framework that has been used on 58 other waterway systems since the late 1990s.  Read more.

No New Anchorages Sites For Now, Coast Guard Says

Rivertowns Patch: It seems that for the time being there will be no additional commercial anchorage sites on the Hudson River between Yonkers and Kingston. The U.S. Coast Guard Tuesday issued its report on the Hudson River Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment which determined that allowing the new anchorage sites was not agreed upon.  Read more.  xx

Coast Guard Hudson River safety report: anchorage regulations need clarification

westfaironline: A report released Tuesday by the U.S. Coast Guard does not include a recommendation that additional anchorages be added to the Hudson River, but it does say regulations on where barges can anchor need clarification.  Read more.

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Coast Guard releases Hudson River Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment Report

Coast Guard releases Hudson River Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment Report

US Coast Guard Press Release: The Coast Guard made public the Hudson River Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment (PAWSA) report today from the workshops held in Poughkeepsie and Albany in November last year.

The PAWSA workshops were held in order to provide stakeholders an opportunity to assist the Coast Guard in understanding navigation safety and environmental concerns on the Hudson River. This report is a starting point for continuing dialogue with the Hudson River stakeholder community.

The most significant PAWSA workshops recommendations were:

  • To create a Hudson River Safety Committee (HRSC);
  • To increase recreational boating safety information; and
  • To clarify and remove ambiguity from current regulations.

The HRSC will provide a forum for relevant stakeholders to address concerns identified by the PAWSA with non-regulatory action, collaboration, and coordination. Although still in development, the HRSC has already held three meetings with successful outcomes and is bringing diverse stakeholders together to discuss safety and environmental interests pertinent to Hudson River waterway users and communities.

The Coast Guard plans to continue boating safety education efforts, to include coordination with State and local agencies. At the request of PAWSA participants, the Coast Guard plans to increase patrol presence on the Hudson River.

Through the PAWSA, the Coast Guard identified ambiguity in existing Hudson River anchorage regulations. The Coast Guard is currently reviewing options to address this issue.

“We will take full advantage of the stakeholder partnerships gained through the two PAWSA workshops, and work with the HRSC to discuss how to best reduce risk, and improve the safety and security of the Hudson River,” said Rear Admiral Steven Poulin, First Coast Guard District Commander.

The full report under “Hudson River, New York” can be found here: https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=pawsaFinalReports.  This press release is here.

(Here’s a key passage from the report’s conclusion regarding the anchorages:

“Besides our continuing effort to support the stand-up of the HRSC the Coast Guard has not yet made any decisions regarding establishing anchorages or using other waterways management tools to manage navigation risk on the Hudson River. The Coast Guard will use this PAWSA report, together with other information, to determine whether, and to what extent, regulatory actions are needed.

“During the PAWSA workshops we acknowledged that the existing anchorage regulations are unclear, and we are considering how those regulations could be made more readily understood. We have no outcome timelines at this time. Any other substantive rulemaking effort associated with the Hudson River will follow Coast Guard public notice and comment rulemaking procedures to allow for public participation in the process.”)

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Runaway barge destroys pier of Irvington Boat and Beach Club

Runaway barge destroys pier of Irvington Boat and Beach Club

Luhud.com: One of the Tappan Zee Constructors’ runaway barges that drifted away during Friday’s storm demolished “the life blood” of the Irvington Boat and Beach Club.

“It must’ve got away because of the tides and the winds,” the club’s Vice Commodore Marcus Witte said. “It must’ve went up the (Hudson) River during high tide and came back down during low tide and slam dunked into our pier.”

The pier connected to a floating dock in the Hudson River and is the “key” attraction for the locally run, locally built private boat club that dates back to the 1950s, Witte said.

“It’s a destination,” Witte said about the pier and dock, “with views of Manhattan, the Tappan Zee Bridge, the Palisades. It’s a great attraction for our members … Not having it is a big loss.”   Read more.

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Coast Guard Beaches Six Barges That Went Loose On Hudson

Coast Guard Beaches Six Barges That Went Loose On Hudson

Rivertowns Daily Voice: The Coast Guard and partner agencies have beached six barges that broke away from their moored location on the Hudson River.

The construction barges were drifting south of the Tappan Zee Bridge on Friday afternoon.

The barges were beached in various locations between Dobbs Ferry and Yonkers. Another two barges are aground in the area of Palisades Park, New Jersey. The captain of the Port has instructed that a tug remain on scene with each barge until conditions stabilize, the Coast Guard said on Saturday.  Read more.

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Communities that drink from Hudson River push for further water protection

Communities that drink from Hudson River push for further water protection

Poughkeepsie Journal: An estimated 100,000 people in the Hudson Valley rely on the Hudson for their drinking water. The Hudson continues to be in the spotlight for issues including the controversy over proposed barge anchorages and the PCBs cleanup north of Albany.

Riverkeeper, an environmental group, commissioned the Center for Watershed Protection to produce the report. The recommendations are based on Riverkeeper’s new “Drinking Source Water Protection Scorecard.”

Over the past year, Riverkeeper worked with elected officials from the seven towns and cities to form a collective. The municipalities include the city and town of Poughkeepsie; the village and town of Rhinebeck, the towns of Esopus, Hyde Park and Lloyd and the Dutchess County Water & Wastewater Authority.

The report concluded the towns and cities need to focus on the cleanup of the water source, in this case, the Hudson River, as opposed to first tackling the water treatment plants; the city of Poughkeepsie recently finished $18 million in upgrades to the Poughkeepsie Water Treatment Plant, that it shares with the town of Poughkeepsie.  Read more.

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America's oil exports are booming — and lifting prices

America’s oil exports are booming — and lifting prices

CNN Money: The resurgence of the oil industry can be traced back to what happened in Congress one day in December 2015.

That’s when lawmakers ended the 40-year ban on U.S. oil exports. Crude pumped in Texas, Oklahoma and North Dakota could suddenly be shipped overseas.

At the time, a glut of supply was wreaking havoc on the energy industry. Crude eventually crashed to $26 a barrel.

But that glut is disappearing, thanks in part to booming oil exports from the United States. Crude that was once trapped inside the country is now going to Europe, Latin America and even China.

The United States exported a record 1.7 million barrels of oil per day in October 2017, according to the most recent stats from the Energy Information Administration. That’s four times as much as in 2015, when federal law prohibited shipping oil to most places except Canada.  Read more.

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Dispute Over Oil Barge Anchorage on Hudson Heads Toward a Resolution

Dispute Over Oil Barge Anchorage on Hudson Heads Toward a Resolution

The Hudson Independent: Riverkeeper, Scenic Hudson, and the Natural Resources Defense Council, along with other organizations, municipalities and thousands of residents along its shores, are of single mind when it comes to the Hudson River. They do not want to see a significant increase in barges or other oil-carrying vessels that could pose “potential dangers” on the river, as they have been characterized.

What will transpire on the Hudson could be disclosed early this year when the U.S. Coast Guard releases a report on two workshops held this past November that brought together, “users, stakeholders, and agencies, to determine the safety of the waterway.”

The public concern was sparked originally from a 2016 Coast Guard proposal to set up or enlarge as many as 10 commercial shipping ports, starting in Yonkers and in other locations as far north as Kingston off the Rhinebeck shoreline, some 70 miles upstream. Forty three anchorages were proposed, providing ports for barges as large as 600 feet in length.  Read more.

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Hudson River Tales: PAWSA Pauses Parking Project

Hudson River Tales: PAWSA Pauses Parking Project

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.
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Op-Ed opposes legislation restricting oil barges on the Hudson

Op-Ed opposes legislation restricting oil barges on the Hudson

Bonner R. Cohen, Ph.D., a senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research, has an editorial on the website of the Heartland Institute expressing opposition to recent “legislation that could limit or even bar oil tankers traversing the Hudson River from storing petroleum at anchorages along the river.”

Cohen’s piece quotes Jordan McGillis, a policy analyst with the Institute for Energy Research, who says the new tanker rule is just the latest in a series of anti-energy measures Cuomo has supported.

“New York’s new tanker law is just the latest in a litany of anti-energy measures enacted under the governorship of Andrew Cuomo,” said McGillis. “When combined with the fact Cuomo has prevented the building of pipelines—the safest means we have to transport oil and natural gas—this tanker measure seems all the more nonsensical.

“Cuomo’s hostility to oil and natural gas hampers business and dims the economic prospects of his state, often—as in the case of the Clean Energy Standard—for little or no environmental benefit,” McGillis said.

Cohen also notes Craig Rucker, executive director of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), who says laws restricting the development, transport, and use of fossil fuels have an adverse effect on the poor and are unsustainable.

The Heartland Institute describes itself as “one of the world’s leading free-market think tanks,” and the National Center for Public Policy Research “is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems.”  Read Cohen’s editorial here.

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Environmentalists urge DEC to establish strong regulations for "Tanker Avoidance Zones" to protect Hudson from oil barges

Environmentalists urge DEC to establish strong regulations for “Tanker Avoidance Zones” to protect Hudson from oil barges

Thirty-five local groups have signed on to a letter to Basil Seggos, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, urging him to establish strong regulations for “Tanker Avoidance Zones” to protect the Hudson River from oil barges.

The letter was drafted by Scenic Hudson, Food & Water Watch, Riverkeeper, and the Natural Resources Defense Council. It is signed by individuals representing environmental organizations, recreational clubs, faith-based groups, and political associations.

“It remains a top priority of our organizations to prevent the development of new anchorage grounds in the Hudson River from being sited at locations where they pose a clear and direct threat to the environment, quality of life, and regional economic development goals of the Hudson Valley,” states the letter. “We are eager to support a rulemaking process that results in regulations that will accomplish this.”

The complete letter reads as follows:Read More

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Editorial: Public vigilance key to ensuring Hudson River safety

Editorial: Public vigilance key to ensuring Hudson River safety

Poughkeepsie Journal Editorial: When defenders of the Hudson River first heard the U.S. Coast Guard was considering designating as many as 10 commercial shipping anchorages on the river, they were rightly appalled and aghast – but they also were taken by surprise.

It was hard to imagine the government would sanction the odious notion of turning parts of the river into “a barge parking lot,” where the potential for more oil spills, contamination of municipal water sources, negative impacts on tourism and interference with recreational boating are all definite threats.

The federal agency had been considering an industry-backed scheme to designate these anchorages, including places in Kingston, Milton, Newburgh and Port Ewen.

Fortunately, the public, led by the area’s environmental groups, rallied. They stood up against the plan. They signed petitions.

In fact, they flooded the U.S. Coast Guard with more than 10,000 comments (the most it has ever has received regarding a proposal) and resoundingly rejected the suggestion. The reaction was so rich and intense that the Coast Guard opted to suspend the process and pull back to do a more comprehensive safety assessment of the river. Officially, this is called the U.S. Coast Guard’s Hudson River Ports and Waterway Safety Assessment, or PAWSA.

The state came through as well, with Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently signing legislation creating “tanker avoided zones” aimed at preventing anchorages from being located where they would pose a direct threat to the environment or would run counter to the economic development goals of neighboring communities.

Yet these matters are far from settled. The Coast Guard has not ruled out proposing new anchorages, which is why it is vital for environmental groups and others to stay engaged and offer solutions. To that end, Riverkeeper, Scenic Hudson and Hudson River Sloop Clearwater all recommend initiatives to better protect the Hudson River. They don’t just include limiting where barges and tankers can anchor, they also involve increasing captains’ and pilots’ access to tide, current and fog conditions. They also include pushing for more resources to ensure a quick response to oil spills and enhancing boater safety education.

While the shipping industry argues the anchorages are necessary to safely transport cargo, others see different motives.

On the federal level, U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-Cold Spring, has been a vocal critic of the possible proliferation of anchorage designations. In a recent editorial board meeting with the Poughkeepsie Journal, the congressman stressed that the Coast Guard must not allow industry to have “permanent crude oil storage on the river.”  Read more.

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Officials and local stakeholders praise PAWSA process

Officials and local stakeholders praise PAWSA process

Hudson Valley News Network: On Monday, Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18), Representative Eliot Engel (NY-16) and local stakeholders reaffirmed their commitment to stopping any Coast Guard proposals that include long-term anchorage sites for the Hudson River.

This followed a series of comprehensive workshops hosted by the Coast Guard that assessed safety on the Hudson River, including the potential need for new anchorage proposals. The group of officials also lauded the Coast Guard’s Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment (PAWSA) for its inclusion of local concerns.

“I’m happy to talk about improving safety measures for barge operators on the river – if a barge is caught in a serious storm, it should absolutely be able to pull over to protect the crew and the river,” said Rep. Maloney. “But there is no way I’ll entertain the possibility of any long-term anchorage sites. They’re not necessary for anyone’s safety and they’re a huge risk to the river and our local communities.”

“From day one my colleagues and I have said this anchorage proposal was a bad idea,” said Congressman Eliot Engel. “The impact it could have, not just on the river but on the communities that line the river like Yonkers and Hastings, might be severe. As such, we have opposed the Coast Guard’s plan every step of the way and will continue to do so as the PAWSA process moves forward. So far we have been successful in delaying this bad idea, but we can’t let up. Congressman Maloney and I will continue to look for ways to help preserve and protect our shoreline communities at the federal level, and I am proud to have partners at the local level like Mayor Spano who are also fighting vigorously against this plan.”  Read more.

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Reps Laud Coast Guard Study, Reiterate Opposition To Long-Term Anchorages

Reps Laud Coast Guard Study, Reiterate Opposition To Long-Term Anchorages

WAMC: Two Democratic New York Congressmen and local stakeholders stood at the Yonkers waterfront Monday afternoon to talk about potential anchorage proposals for the Hudson River. Though they praised a U.S. Coast Guard study, the lawmakers and environmentalists also made it clear they are doubling down on opposition to any long-term anchorage sites in future proposals.

The directed study came after the Coast Guard suspended the rulemaking process for a proposal of up to 10 additional anchorage sites from Westchester to Ulster County. Two workshops took place in November  — one in Poughkeepsie, one in Albany — as part of this study on safety along the river. The study is part of the Coast Guard’s PAWSA process, or Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment. Congressman Eliot Engel’s 16th House District includes Yonkers.

“The days when agencies and decisions can run roughshod over communities is over, and we’re not going to stand for it, certainly not those of us that represent Yonkers, Hastings or other communities up and down the water. So we’re going to continue to fight this. This is something that, whose time has not come, should not come and should never come,” Engel says. “And I will pledge to continue to oppose this, and we won’t stop till we win.”   Read more.

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Activists voice concerns about possible Coast Guard barges on Hudson

Activists voice concerns about possible Coast Guard barges on Hudson

westchester.news12: Activists gathered with federal and local politicians at the Yonkers waterfront Monday amid growing concerns that the Coast Guard could come up with a new plan to install additional anchorage sites on the Hudson River.

The Coast Guard had said that additional barges would allow for increased shipping of crude oil down the Hudson River from the Port of Albany, but it backed off after receiving more than 10,000 letters from local residents fearful of the possibility of oil spills and other accidents on the Hudson.

Activists and lawmakers worry that there is still a proposal out there lurking in the background.

“It serves notice on them that we are monitoring and watching them very carefully, and just the way we didn’t stand for their proposal before, if they put forward another egregious proposal, we will fight them again,” said Rep. Eliot Engel.

Officials say it’s not clear that new barges are in a new proposal from the Coast Guard. It is expected to be released in a few months.  Watch the news report.

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Hudson River shippers, environmental groups far from compromise in anchorage debate

Hudson River shippers, environmental groups far from compromise in anchorage debate

Kingston Daily Freeman: Shipping industry officials and environmental advocates alike are praising the U.S. Coast Guard’s process for updating rules for use of the Hudson River.

However, following two workshops to provide suggestions on the proposed rules, both sides remain far apart in their positions on whether 10 new anchorages for large commercial vessels should be established along the river from Yonkers to Kingston and Rhinebeck.

Edward Kelly, executive director of the Maritime Association of the Port of New York/New Jersey, said having 74 participants from 62 industry groups, environmental organizations, municipalities, governmental departments, and lawmakers’ offices has helped promote an understanding of the needs of all river users.

“I think it did bring out a lot of very good information about the current risk and physical status of the river, some of the mitigations that are out there, and it did give an opportunity to dispel a lot of misconceptions and lack of knowledge that we have been constantly battling against in this whole anchorage proposal,” he said.

Even so, he said, “We are still distressed that there has been no significant action taken to proceed to designate federal anchorages on the Hudson River. At the conclusion of the Albany PAWSA (Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment), Coast Guard District 1 said they have suspended the advanced notice of proposed rule making. We’re still trying to figure out what that means.”

The environmental groups Riverkeeper and Scenic Hudson, in a joint press release, also lauded the Coast Guard for giving them an chance to discuss a wide range of alternatives to anchorages.

“We proposed alternatives that would enhance navigation and environmental safety without new anchorages,” Scenic Hudson President Ned Sullivan said. “These include enhanced communication and access to real-time weather and navigation conditions, reduction of the hours maritime professionals work without rest, and more rapid deployment of spill response resources.”  Read more.

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Environmental groups propose safety measures for Hudson

Environmental groups propose safety measures for Hudson

Poughkeepsie Journal: Environmental groups are recommending a variety of safety initiatives to further protect the Hudson River, including limiting where barges and tankers can anchor on the Hudson.

Recommendations from Riverkeeper, Scenic Hudson and Hudson River Sloop Clearwater include further traffic management and control of vessels, stepping up oil spill response, increasing captains’ and pilots’ access to tide, current and fog conditions, and launching a Harbor Safety Committee for the Hudson River.

The groups made the recommendations during a series of safety workshops organized earlier this month by the U.S. Coast Guard.

John Lipscomb, the boat captain for Riverkeeper, said recommendations from the environmental groups, included:

  • Extend the Vessel Traffic Service, which coordinates large commercial vessel movements up to the Holland Tunnel, up to Albany.
  • Enhance the Automatic Identification System, which allows vessels to broadcast through their radios, to be broadcast via satellite throughout the entire river.
  • Enhance the boater safety education with a focus on small recreational boats, to help avoid crashes between large commercial vessels and small boats.
  • Expand the Harbor Safety Committee, which is currently limited to New York Harbor, to stakeholders on the Hudson from New York City up to Albany.
  • Allow large vessels to have access to the cameras on the bridges. “If they could look ahead and see if there is fog they can be better prepared to handle those conditions,” said Lipscomb, who has been patrolling the Hudson River for 17 years.  Read more.
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River groups offer navigation safety measures for Hudson, cite risks from barge anchorages proposed by industry

River groups offer navigation safety measures for Hudson, cite risks from barge anchorages proposed by industry

Scenic Hudson & Riverkeeper: After taking part in the U.S. Coast Guard’s Hudson River Ports and Waterway Safety Assessment (PAWSA) workshops, Scenic Hudson and Riverkeeper praised the Coast Guard for holding the meetings and reiterated their continued opposition to any official designation of new anchorages—a request by industry that remains under consideration. The anchorages would be for industrial barges that could carry oil and other hazardous chemicals. During a series of November workshops in Poughkeepsie and Albany, Scenic Hudson and Riverkeeper presented data showing that new anchorages are not needed and highlighted alternative strategies that could make the Hudson River safer for navigation and environmental protection without requiring additional anchorages.

Among the actions Scenic Hudson and Riverkeeper proposed during the workshops were improving vessel traffic management and control, increasing oil spill response capability, enhancing Captains’ and Pilots’ access to tide, current and fog conditions and creating a Harbor Safety Committee for the Hudson River. These recommendations would enhance navigational safety without compromising environmental and community interests, and were generally well-received by the workshop participants. Professional mariners, industry representatives, environmental groups, municipalities and recreational boaters broadly acknowledged that there is no need for “long-term” anchoring on the Hudson, thus narrowing the issue to the question of whether the Coast Guard should propose designation of areas where only shorter-term anchoring would be permitted. Scenic Hudson and Riverkeeper are committed to measures that will ensure and increase navigational safety and environmental protection without requiring new anchorages.  Read more.

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Coast Guard will hold two days of closed-door discussions in Albany on vision for Hudson River

Coast Guard will hold two days of closed-door discussions in Albany on vision for Hudson River

Times Union: The U.S. Coast Guard will hold two days of closed-door discussions in Albany this week on a vision for the future of the Hudson River.

Last week, the agency held two days of meetings in Poughkeepsie as part of the work on a Ports and Waterways Assessment, which is meant to examine potential solutions to transportation risks on the river.

The planning started after the Coast Guard earlier this year shelved a request by river shippers to approve 43 new anchorages for use by crude oil barges. This drew opposition from New York state officials, as well as local government leaders and environmental groups.

Last week, Rear Admiral Steven Poulin call the assessment a “process that allows us to take a really close look at risks – navigational and environmental risks – associated with a particular waterway and it helps us inform and give us a better understanding of what those risks are and how we may mitigate those risks,” according to a report by the Mid-Hudson News Network.

The sessions were invitation-only from the Coast Guard, and are not open to the general public or the media, said Chief Warrant Officer Allyson Conroy.

Groups taking part in the workshops include the Hudson River Pilots, Hudson River Waterfront Allliance, Sierra Club, Tug and Barge Committee of New York/New Jersey, state Department of Environmental Conservation, Riverkeeper, Scenic Hudson, McAllister Towing, Pace University, and Samalot Marine.  Read more.

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Coast Guard begins closed door look at Hudson River safety hazards

Coast Guard begins closed door look at Hudson River safety hazards

midhudsonnews.com: The Coast Guard’s Hudson River Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment (PAWSA) workshop began its two-day session in Poughkeepsie on Tuesday.

The process was borne out of the earlier consideration of approving 43 new barge anchorages on the river between Yonkers and Kingston, but it will go beyond that, said Rear Admiral Steven Poulin.

“It is a process that allows us to take a really close look at risks – navigational and environmental risks – associated with a particular waterway and it helps us inform and give us a better understanding of what those risks are and how we may mitigate those risks,” he said.

Following a news conference, the media allowed to stay for the workshop’s opening remarks prior to the remainder of the sessions, which were held behind closed door with over 40 participating stakeholders and a dozen municipal leader and resident observers.

One of the stakeholders, Scenic Hudson President Ned Sullivan, questioned the makeup of the workshop participants implying that 60 percent of the stakeholders are from the marine commerce industry that would benefit from additional anchorages. In response, Poulin said that “nobody’s views would be discounted” and the reason for the unusually large group of participants is so that the Coast Guard can be made aware of all factors that could affect the safety of vessels and the river as a whole.

Other stakeholders in Poughkeepsie include Riverkeeper, Pace University, Hudson River Pilots, Hudson River Waterfront Alliance, and Tug and Pilots Council of New York and New Jersey.  Read more.

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Hudson River assessment process underway five months after anchorage plan was shelved

Hudson River assessment process underway five months after anchorage plan was shelved

Kingston Daily Freeman: The U.S. Coast Guard on Tuesday began a four-day series of workshops that it says is intended to bring 21st-century rules to the Hudson River.

The Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment, or PAWSA, process is being carried out by 41 participants representing nearly three dozen governmental, commercial, municipal and environmental groups.

Included are six recreation groups, six shipping industry groups, four environmental watchdog organizations, five municipal organizations, two universities, three state agencies and three federal agencies.

Coast Guard Rear Adm. Steven Poulin stressed that the process “is not simply about anchorages,” a reference to a controversial proposal to let large vessels, such as barges and oil tankers, drop anchor at 10 locations on the river between Kingston and Yonkers.

“Yes, that will be one part of it, but this PAWSA is an opportunity for us to talk more comprehensively about all the associated risks” of Hudson River uses, Poulin said at a Tuesday morning press conference in Poughkeepsie.

Poulin said use of the river has grown to include a wide variety of recreational activities.

“The Hudson River is a national treasure and because people love to get on it, recreate and use it … but with that comes greater congestion,” he said.

“This isn’t just about tank barges on the Hudson River,” Poulin said. “This is our attempt to try to get a better understanding of all the risks associated with waterways uses. … What are the risks to passenger vessels from more congestion? What are the risks to passenger vessels and recreational vessels from Jet Skis, kayakers, paddle boarders?”  Read more.

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U.S. Coast Guard restarting review of possible Hudson River anchorage grounds

U.S. Coast Guard restarting review of possible Hudson River anchorage grounds

Kingston Daily Freeman: U.S. Coast Guard officials will meet Tuesday and Wednesday with about 45 representatives from environmental groups, municipalities and the shipping industry to begin determining what factors should be considered for siting large-vessel anchorage grounds on the Hudson River.

The meetings will be at the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel in Poughkeepsie and will be open only to invitees.

Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer Allyson Conroy said the meetings will focus on technical information that should go into a Hudson River Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment process and therefore are limited to stakeholders who have significant nautical and environmental knowledge.

Next week’s meetings are being held in the wake of Coast Guard deciding in June to suspend its review of a proposal for 10 new anchorage grounds on the river between Kingston and Yonkers. The Guard said at the time that the Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment would be a “disciplined approach to identify major waterway safety hazards, estimate risk levels, evaluate potential mitigation measures and set the stage for implementation of selected measures to reduce risk.”

Conroy said representatives from eight municipalities will attend the meetings as observers.

Town of Rhinebeck Supervisor Elizabeth Spinzia said one individual will represent Mid-Hudson municipalities that draw water from the river. Among those communities are the towns of Esopus, Lloyd and Hyde Park and the city of Poughkeepsie.

Spinzia said rules governing anchorage grounds on the Hudson River must go beyond the highly technical issues of fish migration and impacts on navigation; that how nautical activity affects life on land also must be considered

“There’s the viewshed, there’s visual pollution, there’s light pollution, there’s noise pollution,” she said. “There’s limitless damage that can be caused by this.”

John Lipscomb, a boat captain for the environmental protection group Riverkeeper, lauded the Coast Guard for bringing a wide range of experts into the rule-making process.

“This is a very rigid, structured conversation, and things that are going to be considered are things like vessel conditions, traffic conditions, navigational conditions, waterway conditions, immediate consequences of an accident, and subsequent consequences of an accident,” he said.  Read more.

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Anchorages Victories—But Hudson Still Needs Protection

Anchorages Victories—But Hudson Still Needs Protection

Scenic Hudson: Many of you were among the 10,000 citizen advocates who told the U.S. Coast Guard to drop its proposal to create 10 new anchorage sites for 43 huge barges carrying crude oil and other poisonous chemicals. This voice of the people has helped create some important victories—but we still have work to do to protect our river, wildlife, natural resources, community assets and local economies.

Progress that demands follow-up actions

The Coast Guard in June temporarily suspended its process to establish the anchorages so it can study measures to make the Hudson safe for industrial barge transportation and whether there is a need for new anchorages. We’ll stand up for your interests during this review and will alert you if there’s action you can take to help the cause.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state legislators—led by Sen. Sue Serino and Assemblymember Didi Barrett—recently passed a law that calls on the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to create regulations that would safeguard the Hudson River and communities from industrial barges carrying petroleum products. Scenic Hudson will be urging the DEC to create strong measures that would prevent new anchorages in locations that could threaten the beauty and outdoor treasures that make the Hudson Valley a great place to live, work and play. Read more.

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Yonkers Mayor critical of Coast Guard stakeholder selection for anchorages study

Yonkers Mayor critical of Coast Guard stakeholder selection for anchorages study

Mayor Michael Spano of Yonkers is asking the US Coast Guard to reconsider its selection of local municipal stakeholders at its upcoming Hudson River Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment workshops this month.

The process is an opportunity for stakeholders, including municipalities in the Hudson River Watershed Alliance, to evaluate safety hazards, potential mitigation measures and their impacts concerning the proposal to add 43 new barge anchorages on the river from Yonkers to Kingston.

Of the 45 participants selected for the workshops, only three municipalities were selected – Hastings-on-Hudson, Tarrytown and Croton-on-Hudson.

“Excluding representatives of local riverfront communities as well as maritime experts, and prohibiting access to the list of invited participates to the PAWSA workshops, undermines the entire PAWSA process and puts into question the motive and integrity of the USCG in conducting a comprehensive, balanced and transparent assessment of risks on the Hudson,” said Spano. “The people of our communities deserve direct local representation in any public process such as this in which the outcome could impact their local natural resources and quality of life.”

The Hudson River Watershed Alliance includes communities along the river from Yonkers to Kingston.  Read more.

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Hudson River has many protectors – starting with the public: Editorial

Hudson River has many protectors – starting with the public: Editorial

Poughkeepsie Journal Editorial: After too many fits and starts, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other state lawmakers have momentum on their side in protecting the Hudson River from great harm. It’s essential they stay on top of the push for a cleaner river. The governor took a brisk step recently by signing legislation aimed at beating back attempts to designate as many as 10 commercial shipping anchorages on the river.

If not challenged, this idea could clutter the river with huge vessels carrying volatile materials, such as crude oil, and dropping anchor near vulnerable riverside communities. There is no way government regulators should allow such risks of damaging spills — and the possibility that municipal water sources could get contaminated.

The federal agency had been considering an industry-backed scheme to designate these anchorages, including places in Kingston, Milton, Newburgh and Port Ewen. Currently, only one seasonal anchorage ground exists on the Hudson River from Yonkers to Kingston,

While the U.S. Coast Guard has backed off this industry-sought plan, it is nevertheless conducting a safety assessment of the river. It has not ruled out proposing new anchorages. This is a critically important point. This fight is not nearly over. Vigilance is required. And the state has empowered itself by setting conditions and rules under which such vessels may enter and use the river.  Read more.

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New Law Effectively Blocks Proposed Hudson River Anchorage Sites

New Law Effectively Blocks Proposed Hudson River Anchorage Sites

Westchester MagazineLocal residents and businesses were not thrilled in the summer of 2016 when the U.S. Coast Guard announced plans to look into building up to 10 new anchoring sites for barges along the length of the Hudson River. There was strong bipartisan opposition to the plan. Finally, after almost a year of discussions and planning, the Coast Guard informally shelved the project “indefinitely.” Now, the New York State Legislature has put the proverbial final nail in the coffin.Effectively, this means that even if the Coast Guard decided to buck public opinion and attempt to construct any new anchorage sites along the Hudson, whether it be for cargo, passenger, or even military vessels, New York State would have far broader powers in its ability to inspect, alter, or block such plans outright.The bill was co-sponsored by Assemblymember Shelly Mayer of Yonkers and was passed almost unanimously (one absent vote, no nays or abstentions) before being signed into law Tuesday morning.Earlier this week Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law the unceremoniously named bill A.6825-A/S.5197-B, which according to the official NYAssembly.gov release, “grants the state added oversight of plans, policies, and programs affecting petroleum-bearing vessels on the Hudson River and on any proposed rulemaking from the U.S. Coast Guard which would impact the Hudson River.” [Emphasis added.]  Read more.
More news stories about the new law:
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NY Gov. Cuomo signs legislation ensuring state-level review of Hudson River anchorage plans

NY Gov. Cuomo signs legislation ensuring state-level review of Hudson River anchorage plans

Kingston Daily Freeman: Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday singed legislation that requires state-level study of any plans for large-vessel anchorage grounds on the Hudson River.

Environmental advocates cheered the action, which came about four months after the U.S. Coast Guard shelved, but didn’t outright kill, its controversial plan to create 10 anchorage grounds for oil tankers and other large vessels on the river between Kingston and Yonkers.

The bill Cuomo signed Tuesday was approved by the state Legislature in July (93-2 in the Assembly and 61-1 in the Senate). It amends an existing law that lets the state Department of Environmental Conservation work with the Department of State and the Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to set “conditions for petroleum-bearing vessels to enter or move upon navigable waters of the state, as well as ‘tanker avoidance zones’” on the lower Hudson River.

“Governor Cuomo has taken bold and decisive action by signing into law legislation that protects the Hudson River from barges and tanker ships that carry dangerous petroleum-based products and other hazardous materials,” Ned Hudson, president of the environmental group Scenic Hudson, said Tuesday in a statement emailed to the media. Read more.

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New Law Allows NY To Restrict Oil Tanker Hudson Anchorages

New Law Allows NY To Restrict Oil Tanker Hudson Anchorages

WAMC: A new law allows New York state to create guidelines that will restrict where oil tankers can anchor on the Hudson River.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation that lets the state establish guidelines for “tanker avoidance zones.” The Democrat says the new law protects the river’s ecosystem as well as residents who live along the Hudson’s banks.

The legislation was introduced after the U.S. Coast Guard proposed to allow petroleum-bearing vessels traveling between Albany and New York City to anchor at 10 locations. Shipping industry officials sought the new anchorage sites for vessels required to wait for weather improvement, icebreaking or other voyage factors.

The proposal prompted opposition from thousands of Hudson Valley residents who feared the plan would pose safety problems as well as threaten the environment and spoil scenic river views.  Listen here.

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Assemblymember Barrett’s Bill To Safeguard The Hudson River Is Signed Into Law

Assemblymember Barrett’s Bill To Safeguard The Hudson River Is Signed Into Law

Assemblymember Didi Barrett’s (D – Columbia, Dutchess) legislation asserting the state’s authority over the Hudson River by expanding the criteria used to establish “tanker avoidance zones” beyond existing navigational standards was signed into law today by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.  As a result of the legislation, which was sponsored by Senator Sue Serino (R – Hyde Park) in the State Senate, the prospect of a massive expansion of crude oil shipments along the Hudson River will be greatly diminished, thereby safeguarding riverfront communities, drinking water supplies, and significant wildlife habitats.  Today’s announcement is a milestone for the future health of the Hudson River and a victory for all those who opposed the U.S. Coast Guard’s proposal to allow large increases in petroleum vessel traffic along a 91-mile stretch between Kingston, Ulster County and Yonkers, Westchester County.

“With this law now in place, the state is in a much stronger position to keep future anchorages from being sited anywhere along the Hudson River.  An increase in petroleum tankers would pose a direct threat to coastal fish and wildlife, local drinking water, the safety of waterfront communities, and economic development in our beautiful region,” said Assemblymember Barrett. “This is truly a victory for everyone who voiced their opposition to the Coast Guard’s ill-advised proposal.  I thank Scenic Hudson for its partnership and commend the Governor for signing this significant measure to further protect the Hudson River.”

While the U.S. Coast Guard has since announced the suspension of its controversial anchorage proposal, New York State’s role in keeping appropriate safeguards in place to protect the Hudson River has never been more important. Known as America’s River, the Hudson is both an iconic piece of New York State’s rich history and a vital economic, recreational, natural and cultural resource for millions of people who live, work and enjoy it today; these are the most compelling reasons to keep it protected.  Widespread opposition to the Coast Guard’s proposal from residents, environmental groups and waterfront municipalities resulted in the adoption of over 40 resolutions and endorsements of A.6825A/S.5197B by impacted communities.

“This is a major victory for our local communities, our local environment and the Hudson River,” said Senator Sue Serino. “We asked residents to step up and make their voices heard on this important issue and the community responded in full force, ensuring that the state will have the power to better protect one of our area’s greatest natural resources. I thank the Governor for recognizing the importance of protecting the significant investments our communities have made by signing this important legislation and I am grateful for all of those – especially Scenic Hudson – who took the time to help us tackle this issue head on.”

“Governor Cuomo has taken bold and decisive action by signing into law legislation that protects the Hudson River from barges and tanker ships that carry dangerous petroleum-based products and other hazardous material,” said Ned Sullivan, President, Scenic Hudson. “This legislation was borne from a tidal wave of civic engagement along the river. Assemblywoman Didi Barrett and Senator Sue Serino responded to public concern in working with fellow legislators to pass this bill with near unanimous bipartisan support in both houses. Now, we call on the Department of Environmental Conservation to do its part by issuing regulations to protect the Hudson River and the natural and community resources of the region.”

Since the federal ban on exports of domestic crude oil was lifted by Congress in December 2015, New York has had an increased responsibility to assert its concurrent jurisdiction over the navigable waterways of the state.  The anchorages law does just that.  The Coast Guard’s plan, while suspended, is not gone; the Coast Guard has announced it will conduct a Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment (PAWSA) on the Hudson River to identify and evaluate the risks of the proposal and allow waterway stakeholders an opportunity to be part of that process.  Additional information about a PAWSA and the entire process can be found at the Coast Guard Navigation Center website: https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/

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