Proposed Hudson River Anchorage Sites May Be Dead In the Water

Proposed Hudson River Anchorage Sites May Be Dead In the Water

Westchester Magazine: For nearly a year, public and local governments throughout lower New York have voiced strong bipartisan opposition to a proposal by the U.S. Coast Guard that would create ten locations for up to 43 oil barges to weigh anchor along the Hudson.

Following the solicitation of more than 10,000 public comments and vocal objection by environmental groups, riverfront developers, and city and county executives, the Coast Guard has released a statement that Rear Adm. Steven D. Poulin “Has suspended future rulemaking decisions and directed a formal risk identification and evaluation of the Hudson River.”

That assessment, a Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment, or “PAWSA,” will be conducted by the Coast Guard this fall to determine what impact such parking births and potentially increased traffic would have along the river.

Coast Guard spokeswoman Chief Warrant Officer Allyson Conroy, says a PAWSA is “a formal study and a long-standing Coast Guard process,” typically including an invite-only two-day workshop for waterway users and stakeholders. Due to the larger number of communities affected by the study’s findings, however, Conroy says two separate workshops have been planned, with dates and times to be announced.

Conroy stresses the project is merely suspended pending the PAWSA findings. “If they determine they need a federal space in that area, they can bring in all that new information so we can fully understand the needs of the river and the waterway users.”

U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Malloney (D) of Cold Spring, however, declared, “The proposal is effectively dead,” in a conference call Wednesday, according to Daily Freeman. “They would not have suspended the future rulemaking unless they intended to move in a different direction.”  Read more.

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Coast Guard suspends, but doesn’t kill, plan for Hudson River anchorage grounds

Coast Guard suspends, but doesn’t kill, plan for Hudson River anchorage grounds

Kingston Daily Freeman: The U.S. Coast Guard has shelved, but not outright killed, its controversial plan to create 10 anchorage grounds for large vessels on the Hudson River between Kingston and Yonkers.

“The anchorages proposal has been suspended because, after analyzing and reviewing the more than 10,000 comments that were received, it was brought to our attention that there’s a lot that we really don’t know about the Hudson River that we have to study before we make any sort of permanent decision,” Coast Guard spokeswoman Allyson Conroy said Wednesday.

Conroy, a chief warrant officer, said safety assessments and invitation-only workshops relative to the river will be conducted by the Coast Guard this fall.

“That will bring people to the table, [including] the industry people who use the Hudson River, people who use it recreationally and environmental stakeholders,” she said. “That way, we can have a better idea what is needed and maybe what is not needed.”

U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-Cold Spring, issued a statement Wednesday afternoon that said Coast Guard Adm. Steven D. Poulin was “effectively killing the proposal” by announcing he would “‘suspend future rulemaking decisions’ regarding the designation of additional anchorage sites in the Hudson River.” Conroy, though, said the Coast Guard rather was taking more time to assess the plan, especially in light of the volume of comments it received from opponents.

A statement issued by the Coast Guard late Wednesday said Poulin “has suspended future rulemaking decisions and directed a formal risk identification and evaluation of the Hudson River, known as a Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment (PAWSA)… 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.”

Poulin, in a separate statement, said: “… The PAWSA is not a substitute for the rulemaking process. The results of the PAWSA will help us determine what the next steps might be, after a more comprehensive assessment of risks. Any subsequent rulemaking regarding maritime commerce on the Hudson River will continue to be conducted through a transparent process of public notice and comment.”

Maloney, in a conference call later Wednesday, stood by his characterization of the anchorage proposal being dead despite the Coast Guard not going that far in its statements.

“What I’m telling you is that they would not have suspended the future rulemaking unless they intended to move in a different direction,” the congressman said. “This proposal is effectively dead.”  Read more.

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Coast Guard Kills Plan To Park Barges Along Hudson River

Coast Guard Kills Plan To Park Barges Along Hudson River

Yonkers Daily Voice: After more than a year, the Coast Guard has agreed to kill a proposal that would have seen barge anchor berths placed along the Hudson River.

According to Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, on Tuesday, “after more than a year of tireless efforts to defeat a plan for additional anchorages,” the Coast Guard agreed to pull the deal off the table, announcing they would “suspend future rulemaking decisions.”

Maloney called the decision a victory for the Hudson Valley.

“I am glad the Coast Guard has come around to our way of thinking,” he said. “This is a victory that the Hudson Valley won together – from the 10,000 residents who submitted comments to the bipartisan coalition of elected officials across all levels of government who came together with one voice to protest this terrible idea. Our river is a national treasure that should be preserved and protected for generations – not turned into a parking lot for commercial oil ships.”

Earlier this year, bi-partisan Hudson Valley officials came together at the Yonkers waterfront to announce additional legislation that would stop the U.S. Coast Guard’s proposal that includes the installation of 16 anchor berths across 715 acres on the water between Yonkers and Dobbs Ferry.

Last year, the Westchester County Board of Legislators unanimously passed a resolution opposing the Coast Guard’s plan. The resolution was proposed by Minority Leader John Testa and reviewed by the Board of Legislation’s Infrastructure Committee.

“Westchester is the first county to pass a resolution against the plan, and I hope other counties along the Hudson River follow our lead,” Testa said in a statement. “The resolution should send a strong message to the Coast Guard and federal government that both Republicans and Democrats on the Westchester County Board of Legislators stand in opposition to the proposal to park barges laden with oil up and down the Hudson River just off the waterfronts of our communities.”  Read more.

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Coast Guard puts on hold controversial Hudson River anchorages

Coast Guard puts on hold controversial Hudson River anchorages

Record online: The U.S. Coast Guard has “suspended” a controversial proposal to build 10 Hudson River sites where dozens of ships, barges and tugboats could anchor, a decision being hailed as a victory by U.S. Rep. Sean Maloney and local officials alarmed by the idea.

Admiral Steven Poulin, commander of the USCG’s first district, said the plan’s development is being halted so the branch can assess the safety of the river’s ports and waterways, including a two-day fall workshop with river users and other stakeholders.

The announcement Wednesday marked a retreat from a plan to create 43 berths between Kingston and Yonkers that would allow vessels to anchor in the waters off of Marlboro, Milton, Port Ewen, the City of Newburgh and other municipalities, Maloney said.

Along with Maloney and environmental groups, the plan faced a vigorous fight from officials and residents in those municipalities along the river.

“This is a victory that the Hudson Valley won together,” said Maloney, who authored federal legislation aimed at stopping the proposal. “Our river is a national treasure that should be preserved and protected for generations – not turned into a parking lot for commercial oil ships.”

Associations representing the tugboat and barge industry, and vessel pilots working on the Hudson argued that berthing sites would give barges and tugs a place to anchor while waiting out bad weather and low tides.

Some opponents of the anchorages feared an increase in barges carrying crude oil and the risk to a river regaining its health after being contaminated by industries that made their home along the Hudson.

Others worried about heightened risks for recreational boaters and spoiled river views as vessels sat anchored. More than 10,000 individuals and groups, most of them opposed to the idea, submitted comments.

“The main lesson learned by the feds is this: Those of us who live on and love the Hudson River will not let it come to harm,” said Paul Gallay, president for the environmental group Riverkeeper.  Read more.

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Coast Guard Suspends Hudson River Anchorage Plan

Coast Guard Suspends Hudson River Anchorage Plan

Maritime Executive: The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended its plans to designate 10 anchorages for petroleum barges on the Hudson River, bowing to pressure from environmental groups and local citizens.

“The anchorages proposal has been suspended because, after analyzing and reviewing the more than 10,000 comments that were received, it was brought to our attention that there’s a lot that we really don’t know about the Hudson River that we have to study before we make any sort of permanent decision,” said Coast Guard spokeswoman Chief Warrant Officer Allyson Conroy, speaking to local media.

While the rulemaking process for the anchorages has ended for now, a new Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment will begin – “a disciplined approach to identify major waterway safety hazards, estimate risk levels . . . and set the stage for implementation of selected measures to reduce risk,” according to a Coast Guard statement.

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the Senate minority leader, called the decision to halt rulemaking a “wise choice,” though he acknowledged that the proposal is not yet “completely dead.”  Read more.

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Coast Guard 'suspends' Hudson River anchorage proposal

Coast Guard ‘suspends’ Hudson River anchorage proposal

Lohud.com: The Coast Guard is backing off a contentious proposal to put 10 commercial shipping anchorages on the Hudson River stretching from Yonkers north to Kingston.

The agency said it would “suspend future rulemaking decisions” on the proposal, floated by the commercial shipping industry and opposed vehemently by environmental groups and elected officials from all levels of government.

After more than 10,000 comments left online regarding the proposal — nearly all of them negative — Coast Guard Rear Admiral Steven Poulin said a “Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment” would be conducted to identify risks on the Hudson and mitigation measures.

“The (assessment) is not a substitute for the rulemaking process. The results of the PAWSA will help us determine what the next steps might be, after a more comprehensive assessment of risks,” wrote Poulin, the Coast Guard First District Commander. “Any subsequent rulemaking regarding maritime commerce on the Hudson River will continue to be conducted through a transparent process of public notice and comment.”

U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, who proposed legislation to curb the anchorages, counted the suspension as a victory.

“I am glad the Coast Guard has come around to our way of thinking,” said Maloney in a statement in which he hailed the move as a “major victory.”  Read more.

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Oil and Water Don’t Mix in the Hudson River

Oil and Water Don’t Mix in the Hudson River

Food & Water Watch: Over the past few decades, grassroots groups have worked tirelessly to restore New York’s majestic Hudson River. Then they found out about a plan to add something the Hudson certainly doesn’t need: Massive barges carrying fracked oil.

This dangerous idea was proposed by the Coast Guard, at the behest of the New York-New Jersey Maritime Association. The vision is to add ten new anchorage grounds to accommodate 43 vessels from Yonkers to Kingston, which would encourage tankers to increase oil shipments along the river.

The same groups that have fought hard to clean up the Hudson took action. And in the eleventh hour of the legislative session, Albany lawmakers voted overwhelmingly in favor of bills to help block this anti-environmental plan.

Led by Scenic Hudson, a network of environmental organizations including Riverkeeper, Food & Water Watch, Sierra Club Lower Hudson, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Natural Resources Defense Council, the Audubon Society, and the New York League of Conservation Voters, spoke out against the proposal. We spearheaded a campaign urging the New York State Legislature to pass bills A.6825A and S.5197B to protect the towns along the river. The legislation expands New York State’s jurisdiction over the siting of oil barges on the Hudson River by enabling the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to create ‘Tanker Avoidance Zones’ based on the presence of significant habitats, and the concerns of waterfront communities.  Read more.

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NY legislators vote overwhelmingly for bill to protect Hudson from oil barges

NY legislators vote overwhelmingly for bill to protect Hudson from oil barges

Riverkeeper: Last night, a bill to give the state additional say over Hudson River anchorage locations overwhelmingly passed the New York State Senate and will be heading to the Governor Andrew Cuomo’s desk for approval.

The Senate joined the Assembly and passed legislation that better enables the state to protect the Hudson and waterfront communities from dangerous new oil tanker and barge anchorages. The bill, passed by a vote of 93-2 in the Assembly and 62-1 in the Senate, comes in the wake of an industry request to the U.S. Coast Guard for 10 new anchorage grounds – 2,400-acres with space for 43 vessels – an unnecessary and drastic proposal intended to support the global oil trade.

This legislation allows the state to develop specific conditions and rulesunder which petroleum bearing vessels may enter or move upon the navigable waters of the Hudson River.

“This legislation gives the Hudson River, and all who care about it, new momentum in the fight against current attempts to expand the industrial use of the river, particularly for crude oil transport,” Riverkeeper President Paul Gallay said. “The public has spoken loudly, clearly and repeatedly: we don’t need these anchorages and they pose unacceptable risks. And our elected officials are listening and taking action.

“This is how it’s supposed to work. Our legislators saw the will of the people and voted overwhelmingly for this bill. The bipartisan vote in both houses sends a clear message, and we trust that Governor Cuomo will follow through.”

Riverkeeper urges Governor Cuomo to sign the legislation expeditiously and direct the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to begin implementation of the law, before the industry’s proposal moves forward.

The legislation does not put an end to the industry’s request for new anchorages. The Coast Guard is reviewing more than 10,000 public comments – an unprecedented response that was overwhelmingly opposed to the plan – that were filed last year. Riverkeeper, its partners, and communities up and down the river must remain vigilant to prevent this plan from moving forward.  Read more.

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Bill To Ban Barges In Hudson Valley Awaiting Cuomo's Approval

Bill To Ban Barges In Hudson Valley Awaiting Cuomo’s Approval

Yorktown Daily Voice: A bill to prevent the creation of anchorage sites in the Hudson River has passed the New York State Assembly and Senate, and will now head to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desk before it can be signed into law.

Earlier this year, bi-partisan Hudson Valley officials came together at the Yonkers waterfront to announce additional legislation that would stop the U.S. Coast Guard’s proposal that includes the installation of 16 anchor berths across 715 acres on the water between Yonkers and Dobbs Ferry.

Last year, the Westchester County Board of Legislators unanimously passed a resolution opposing the Coast Guard’s plan. The resolution was proposed by Minority Leader John Testa and reviewed by the Board of Legislation’s Infrastructure Committee.

“Westchester is the first county to pass a resolution against the plan, and I hope other counties along the Hudson River follow our lead,” Testa said in a statement. “The resolution should send a strong message to the Coast Guard and federal government that both Republicans and Democrats on the Westchester County Board of Legislators stand in opposition to the proposal to park barges laden with oil up and down the Hudson River just off the waterfronts of our communities.”

In March, Congressmen Sean Patrick Maloney and Eliot Engel announced the new legislation to ban the barges. The legislation would make it illegal to create such anchorage sites within five miles of superfund sites, a nuclear power station, a site on the National Register of Historic Places, near endangered species or other “critical areas.”  Read more

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Bill To Prevent Barge Anchorage Fields On Hudson Passes Legislature

Bill To Prevent Barge Anchorage Fields On Hudson Passes Legislature

Rivertowns, NY Patch: A bill aimed at safeguarding the Hudson River and local waterfront communities has passed both the Assembly and Senate in Albany. Legislation sponsored by Sue Serino, R-Hyde Park, and Didi Barrett, D-Hudson, would bolster the state’s ability to exercise its jurisdiction over the river. It specifically amends the state’s navigation law relating to the establishment of “tanker-avoidance zones” to take into consideration waterfront communities and natural habitats.

The bill now goes to Governor Andrew Cuomo for his consideration.

The U.S. Coast Guard has proposed establishing 10 new anchorage grounds along the Hudson River from Yonkers to Kingston.

If they were to come to fruition, the new grounds would allow up to 43 petroleum-carrying vessels to anchor in the 91-mile area.

Forty-two of them could anchor for up to 30 days at a time.

Serino said the Hudson River communities have worked too hard for too long on bringing the waterfront back to now see it compromised by the anchorage plan.

“This bill is critically important to ensure that the state is empowered to do all that it can to ensure that our river environment and local communities are protected,” she said.  Read more.

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Effort to give NY more say over Hudson River anchorage sites clears state Legislature

Effort to give NY more say over Hudson River anchorage sites clears state Legislature

Kingston Daily Freeman: A bipartisan effort to give New York additional say over large-vessel anchorage locations on the Hudson River has won final approval in the state Legislature and is heading to the governor’s desk.

The bill giving New York the authority to establish “tanker avoidance zones” on the lower Hudson was approved 61-1 by the state Senate late Wednesday. It was introduced by state Sen. Sue Serino, R-Hyde Park, and co-sponsored by state Sen. George Amedore, R-Rotterdam.

The legislation cleared the state Assembly on Tuesday in a 93-2 vote. It was introduced there by Assemblywoman Didi Barrett, D-Hudson.

Lawmakers wrote the legislation as a pre-emptive move to strengthen the state’s position regarding 10 possible anchorage sites between Kingston and Yonkers that have been proposed by the maritime industry and are being considered by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Serino, in a statement issued at 12:11 a.m. Thursday, said: “I cannot stress it enough: Our communities have worked far too hard for far too long on revitalizing our waterfront to risk compromising the Hudson River. This bill is critically important to ensure that the state is empowered to do all that it can to ensure that our river environment and local communities are protected. …

“This is a great example of all that can be accomplished when partners at every level come together to put our environment and our community first, and I hope that the governor will recognize the importance of this legislation and make its signing a priority,” Serino said.  Read more

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State throttles back on Hudson oil barge plan

State throttles back on Hudson oil barge plan

Albany Times Union: The state is throttling back a controversial proposal to park dozens of oil barges on the Hudson River south of the Capital Region.

At the end of the legislative session Wednesday, lawmakers passed a law giving the state Department of Environmental Conservation the power to consider potential environmental and waterfront impacts of the project, which currently is being weighed by the U.S. Coast Guard.

The plan would allow up to 43 barges — each of which could potentially contain enough oil to fill six Olympic-sized swimming pools — to anchor along 70 miles of the Hudson between Kingston and Yonkers.

Late last year, the administration of Gov. Andrew Cuomo came out against the plan, with a high-ranking State Department official calling it not “an acceptable solution” in a letter to Coast Guard officials.

Under changes to state Navigation Law passed with bi-partisan support in both the Senate and Assembly, DEC will consider potential environmental impacts of plans that call for vessels to carry petroleum on state waterways.

“We don’t need these anchorages and they pose unacceptable risks,” said Paul Gallay, president of environmental advocacy group Riverkeeper. He said the new laws provide “new momentum in the fight against current attempts to expand the industrial use of the river, particularly for crude oil transport.” Read more.

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New York State legislature passes bill addressing the anchorage proposal, limiting oil barges on the Hudson

New York State legislature passes bill addressing the anchorage proposal, limiting oil barges on the Hudson

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Key bill on anchorages passes State Assembly 93-2; Senate must act soon

Key bill on anchorages passes State Assembly 93-2; Senate must act soon

Riverkeeper: On Tuesday, June 20th, the New York State Assembly passed legislation — by a vote of 93-2 — to help protect the Hudson and waterfront communities from dangerous oil barges and the unnecessary anchorages requested by industry.

In order for the legislation to make it to the Governor’s desk, the state Senate must pass S.5197b (Serino), through the Rules Committee chaired by Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan.

The legislation (S.5197b/A.6825b) would allow the state Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner to better protect areas of the river that are important habitat for wildlife, as well as areas that are near waterfront communities, from new barge anchorages that could support a massive expansion of crude oil shipments through the Hudson Valley.

With just hours left in the 2017 legislative session, Riverkeeper and other local environmental groups are calling on the Senate leadership – Majority Leader Flanagan and Deputy Majority Leader DeFrancisco – to ensure that this legislation makes it onto the powerful Rules Committee agenda and the floor of the Senate.

Given the unprecedented public outcry to the proposed re-industrialization of the river, the Senate leadership is being urged to pass the bill.

Here’s how you can help.

Call Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan: (518) 455-2071

Call Senate Deputy Majority Leader John DeFrancisco: (518) 455-3511

What to Say:
Hi, I’m (name) from (town). I’m calling to ask the Senate to pass S.5197a (Serino) and ensure that the “Tanker Avoidance Zone” bill becomes law.

You can also tell your Senator that:

  • The Legislature needs to act quickly before the session ends on Wednesday.
  • The Coast Guard could move forward with a rulemaking process to establish new anchorage sites on the Hudson River at any time.
  • More oil barge traffic would put the Hudson at a greater risk for devastating oil spills, threaten drinking water supplies, and undermine millions of dollars that river towns have spent revitalizing their waterfronts.

Thank you for calling. Please click below to follow up with an e-mail to your state senator.

Learn more at Riverkeeper’s campaign hub riverkeeper.org/anchorages.

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Scenic Hudson urges public to call elected officials this week, before time runs out to avoid oil disaster

Scenic Hudson urges public to call elected officials this week, before time runs out to avoid oil disaster

Scenic Hudson: NYS Senate Temporary President John J. Flanagan needs to hear from you today to advance legislation that could protect our Hudson River and Hudson Valley communities from a major oil accident—explosion or spill—that could threaten our health and our economy and jobs. Time is running out before the state legislature goes into summer recess.

Call State Sen. Flanagan TODAY at 518 455 2071. Tell him you support the tanker avoidance legislation (S.5197b) and it should move ahead to a vote.

Nine of the 10 proposed oil barge anchorages in the Hudson River—“parking lots” for 43 massive barges carrying crude oil and other hazardous chemicals—lie within state-designated Significant Coastal Fish and Wildlife Habitats considered irreplaceable. The pending bill would enable the state Department of Environmental Conservation to establish Tanker Avoidance Zones based on the proximity of these fragile and sensitive habitats, environmental justice areas, contaminated areas and other concerns of waterfront communities.

We know you love the Hudson and know how to sound your voice to protect it and your neighbors. PLEASE CALL TODAY.

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Follow the facts on Hudson River anchorage plan, Riverkeeper captain says

Follow the facts on Hudson River anchorage plan, Riverkeeper captain says

Re “Anchorages would protect the Hudson,” June 14 letter:

The writer recommends that the public should “follow the facts.” He should do the same.

He states that industry seeks anchorage designations “so the U.S Coast Guard can properly manage the vessels anchoring there.” Any commercial vessel operator who experiences circumstances that make it unsafe to proceed (weather, mechanical failure, etc.) simply has to contact the Coast Guard. Permission to anchor is always granted to vessels in distress.

He states that more official anchorages would minimize train and truck transport. That is incorrect. As independent businesses, rail and barge industries will move as much oil as they have capacity to carry, so long as the market supports the volume.

He states that vessels are limited to 48 hours at any location. While that may be true in New York Harbor, it is not the case farther north. And 42 of the 43 new anchorage sites would allow “long term” use.

If, as the writer states, the tug and barge industry is concerned that the Champlain Hudson Power Express cable will preclude anchoring, why wasn’t this mentioned in the request to the Coast Guard? The Maritime Association of the Port of NY/NJ pointed only to the export trade “of American Bakken crude oil and ethanol.”  Read more.

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Anchorage legislation moves forward with support of local environmental groups and towns

Anchorage legislation moves forward with support of local environmental groups and towns

Hudson Valley legislators at both the national and state level have been working on legislation that addresses the threat posed by the Coast Guard’s proposal to establish ten new anchorage grounds on the Hudson River.  The legislation has been getting plenty of support from local environmental groups and Hudson Valley towns.  Here is a brief update.

Federal legislation

At the federal level, Congressmen Sean Patrick Maloney and John Faso have introduced legislation that would significantly slow down the Coast Guard’s proposal.

The original version of this legislation — H. R.1504, The Hudson River Protection Act — would have effectively banned development of new anchorages in the Hudson River.  This version would have prohibited “the establishment of areas located within five miles of a nuclear power plant, a location on the national register of historic places, a superfund site, or critical habitat of an endangered species as anchorage grounds in U.S. navigable waters for vessels carrying hazardous or flammable material as cargo.”

A revised version of the bill takes a softer approach, but it would delay any decision on establishing new anchorages for at least a year.   The Coast Guard would have six months to provide a summary of public comments on the proposed anchorages and then wait at least another six months before approving any new sites.  The Coast Guard would also be required to conduct environmental studies on the proposal.

There’s more about the legislation in this article in the Kingston Daily Freeman.

State legislation

On the state level, proposed legislation would give the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) the power to establish “Tanker Avoidance Zones” near sensitive aquatic habitats, waterfront communities and other factors critical to the safety and security of the Hudson River.

In establishing these zones, the DEC would need to consult with the Coast Guard, the Board of Commissioners of Pilots, the Department of State, the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and local elected officials.

The version of the bill before the New York State Assembly (A.6825A), which was introduced by Assembly member Didi Barrett, was passed unanimously through the Committee on Environmental Conservation and now needs to go through the Ways and Means Committee.

The Senate bill (S.5197B), which was introduced by Senator Sue Serino, was also passed unanimously by the Environmental Conservation Committee, and it now needs to go through the Senate Rules committee.

The legislative session ends on June 21, so there are only a few days remaining during which the bills can be voted on, but they are on the short list to pass.

If the bill does pass both the Senate and Assembly, Governor Cuomo would have until September to sign it into law.

There’s more about the legislation in this article on WAMC.

Local support for legislation

Several environmental groups have issued memoranda of support for this legislation, and some local governments have also passed resolutions supporting the bills.  Here are some links:

What you can do

Ask your state Senator and Assembly member to co-sponsor bills (S.5197B and A.6825A, respectively) that would allow the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to establish “Tanker Avoidance Zones” on the basis of their close proximity to critical fish and wildlife habitats, waterfront communities, drinking water infrastructure, and other considerations.

You can call the Senate and Assembly directly using these numbers:

  • Senate switchboard: (518) 455-2800
  • Assembly switchboard: (518) 455-4100

In order to connect directly to your own state senator’s office, Food & Water Watch makes it easy on this page.

The NY State Legislature will adjourn by the end of next week, so please make your call as soon as possible.

You can also send a message to your elected officials using this form provided by Food & Water Watch.

There’s a helpful letter to concerned citizens from Food & Water Watch here.

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Anchorage plan threatens Hudson: Letter

Anchorage plan threatens Hudson: Letter

lohud.com: The U.S. Coast Guard is considering a proposal to establish 10 new anchorage areas in the Hudson River between Yonkers and Kingston, where a total of 43 massive oil barges could be parked for an indefinite period of time. This proposal comes in response to the dramatic increase in barge traffic over the past few years, largely due to the influx of fracked oil arriving by rail at the Port of Albany as well as the recent lifting of the ban on exporting crude oil to other countries.

The anchorages are of concern to all of us. They will turn the river into a parking lot for huge barges, cause sound and light pollution from noisy generators and “stadium” lighting, threaten wildlife habitats in and around the river, and damage the economic viability of villages with revitalized waterfronts. Most worrisome of all is that more oil barges on the Hudson would increase the risk of a catastrophic spill that could affect our entire area.

 

Bipartisan legislation has been introduced at the state level to make it more difficult to establish large-vessel anchorage grounds on the Hudson. I urge you to call your state senator and Assembly member now (their session ends in mid-June) and ask them to support this legislation (S5197 in the senate and A6825 in the Assembly). To find out who represents you, type your address into openstates.org. Additionally, please write you concerns about this issue to the Coast Guard:

  • Craig Lapiejko, Waterways Management Specialist, First Coast Guard District, 408 Atlantic Ave., Boston, MA 02110.

You can learn more about this issue at many excellent websites such as hudsonriveranchorages.org and Riverkeeper.org. This is not simply about our beautiful river becoming an eyesore and a parking lot for huge barges carrying toxic substances. The proposed anchorages reflect the wider threat fossil fuels pose to the environment and health of the planet.

Iris Hiskey Arno

Hastings-on-Hudson

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Maloney's Bill to Stop Coast Guard Proposal for Anchorages on Hudson Passes Key Hurdle

Maloney’s Bill to Stop Coast Guard Proposal for Anchorages on Hudson Passes Key Hurdle

Hudson Valley News Network: Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) announced that federal legislation he wrote to halt the United States Coast Guard’s Proposed Rulemaking to expand mooring infrastructure on the Hudson River between Kingston and Yonkers was included as part of the Coast Guard Authorization Act, which passed today in committee.

Rep. Maloney’s Anchorages Away Act, would require the Coast Guard, within 180 days of passage, to submit a report to the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on the impacts of these proposed anchorages on existing superfund sites and habitats of endangered species and the Coast Guard’s response to these concerns.

In addition, the Coast Guard is prohibited from establishing any anchorages on the Hudson River between Yonkers and Kingston until at least 180 days after the submission of this report.

Today, during a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee mark-up of the Coast Guard Authorization Act, Rep. Maloney spoke in favor of his legislation and encouraged the Coast Guard to end the dangerous proposed rulemaking. You can watch Rep. Maloney’s remarks here.

“The Coast Guard’s proposal to install new anchorage sites on the Hudson River is disaster – it’s a terrible idea and I’ll do whatever I can to stop it,” said Rep. Maloney. “Getting my provision into this bill will make sure we slow this thing down and find out the effects this dangerous proposal will have on our river and our communities. We are going to kill this proposal once and for all – and today was a step in the right direction.”  Read more.

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Stony Point supports proposed changes to Coast Guard barge plan

Stony Point supports proposed changes to Coast Guard barge plan

Rockland County Times: The U.S. Coast Guard’s plan to place several “parking spots” for crude oil barges and other tankers along the banks of the Hudson is being challenged in Albany.

The barge anchorage locations the Coast Guard is entertaining would permit more than 40 barges to “rest”  along the river’s coastline from Yonkers to Kingston to await arrival or departure times from the Port of Albany, a move that New York’s vocal environmental groups have come out against loud and clear.

While the maritime industry may support it, the Herculean efforts to clean up the Hudson and to balance the historic “waterway of industry” with the riverfront’s massive recreational/lifestyle makeover is currently being challenged in Albany, where bills in the Assembly (A006825) and Senate (S05197) are under consideration. Gov. Andrew Cuomo supports the measure.

As recently as April, 2017, a barge carrying 60,000 gallons of gasoline ran aground near Catskill in Greene County. It was stuck for hours as workers tried to determine if it was leaking as a result of striking rocks about 30 feet from the shoreline. Luckily, no damage was found and it was eventually towed to deeper water to continue on its way.

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“It is a real concern for all of us that the Federal government wants to negatively impact the waterfront and the communities and thinks we are going to do nothing about it,” said Deputy Supervisor Tom Basile. “The bills currently in Albany have a lot of support and would enable the state to control the anchorage areas to ensure the Hudson River and its waterfront communities will be protected.”  Read more.

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Congressional bill would delay Hudson River anchorage plan for at least a year

Congressional bill would delay Hudson River anchorage plan for at least a year

Kingston Daily Freeman: Recommendations on establishing 10 anchorage sites in the Hudson River will be delayed for at least a year under a congressional bill that would require the U.S. Coast Guard to conduct environmental studies on the proposal.

The move to slow the review process was announced in separate press releases from U.S. Rep. John Faso, R-Kinderhook, and U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-Cold Spring, with both men taking credit for language that passed the house Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Faso, in a telephone interview, said the Coast Guard would have six months to provide a summary of public comments on the proposed anchorages and then wait at least another six months before approving the sites, under the proposal.

“It basically requires the Coast Guard to provide a detailed report to the Senate and House Transportation Committee as to the public comments and to give us their opinion as to the comments and in the meantime make sure that no anchorages could be established while this discussion is pending,” he said. “In essence, what this does … (is stop) that process dead in its tracks and forces the Coast Guard to give us their analysis of this question.”  Read more.

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NY Congressman Maloney's Amendment To Slow Anchorage Site Proposal Advances

NY Congressman Maloney’s Amendment To Slow Anchorage Site Proposal Advances

WAMC: A bill authored by a New York congressman to halt proposed anchorage sites along the Hudson River until there is further study has advanced. An environmental professor says while it’s a good first step, the proposal should bring more accountability to bear on the U.S. Coast Guard.

Democratic Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney of the 18th district says legislation he wrote to halt the U.S. Coast Guard’s Proposed Rulemaking to create up to 10 anchorage sites between Kingston and Yonkers was included as part of the Coast Guard Authorization Act, which passed Wednesday in committee. Maloney had urged his amendment’s passage during a markup.

“The language in this amendment will guarantee that the Coast Guard study the impacts of this and report back to the Congress before it moves forward with this very controversial proposal,” Maloney said. “We owe this to the people we represent to get it right.”

Maloney’s Anchorages Away Act would require the Coast Guard to submit a report to the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on the impacts of these proposed anchorages on existing Superfund sites and endangered species habitats. The Coast Guard has proposed creating up to 10 anchorage sites in the Hudson River to park as many as 43 commercial vessels between Yonkers and Kingston.  Read more.

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Congressman Faso includes language in bill to halt Hudson River Anchorage process and require report to Congress

Congressman Faso includes language in bill to halt Hudson River Anchorage process and require report to Congress

Washington, D.C. – Congressman John Faso (R-Kinderhook) today announced the inclusion of language added at his request to H.R. 2518, the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2017, that would protect the public health and public safety of Hudson River communities by prohibiting proposed Yonkers-to-Kingston barge anchorages for up to one year while Congress assesses environmental and other impacts. The last reauthorization for the Coast Guard’s major funding bill was passed in 2015 and is set to expire this year.

“The Hudson River, like any finite resource, can only thrive when it is shared responsibly and all voices are heard. Since news of the Coast Guard’s proposal emerged, I have urged the agency to work with our communities and listen to their concerns. I saw the opportunity with a must-pass piece of legislation affecting the Coast Guard to add a provision which would halt the anchorage process and get this provision enacted into law,” said Faso.

“This amendment helps ensure an open, transparent and inclusive rulemaking process for communities that depend on the Hudson River for recreation and local economic growth, and I commend Congressman Faso for his hard work in getting this important provision added to the Coast Guard legislation,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA).

Congressman Faso’s language, which was included as part of the “manager’s amendment” to H.R. 2518, requires a six-month time limit for the Coast Guard to submit to Congress a “detailed summary” of the public comments it has collected related to its Proposed Rule for 10 anchorage grounds for barges between Yonkers (Westchester County) and Kingston, NY (Ulster County). The report must also include the Coast Guard’s responses to these concerns. None of the proposed anchorages may be established during this time. Once Congress receives the Coast Guard report, the agency may not approve the 10 proposed anchorages for an additional six months while the report is reviewed. At the behest of Faso and others, the Coast Guard lifted its original September 7, 2016 deadline for written comments and extended the public comment period until the end of that year.

“Parking commercial barges off our shores would have profound environmental, economic and public safety implications for Westchester residents. We need a better process to vet this proposal and ensure that local concerns are heard at the federal level. We’ve been asking for this for the better part of a year and thanks to Congressman Faso’s efforts, we may finally be on our way to a more open and transparent process we deserve and the opportunity to let our voices be heard,” said Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino.

“For too long the federal government has made decisions impacting our communities without an adequate public process, leaving key stakeholders out. This issue requires local and congressional involvement. I’m grateful to Congressman Faso for this amendment. Now Dutchess County and other river communities will have a real chance to be heard loud and clear,” said Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro.

“Congressman Faso’s legislation is important in that it ensures all information is studied and made available. This legislation helps give our communities the information we need to assess the issues relating to anchorages along the Hudson,” said Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus.

“I fundamentally respect the Coast Guard and its mission. However, our local concerns related to public safety and the risks associated with increased river traffic carrying oil and refined fuels need federal representation too. That’s why I’m pleased to support Congressman Faso’s measure pausing the anchorage rule until Congress can take a good look at our concerns. John listened to us and got the job done,” said Dutchess County Sheriff Adrian “Butch” Anderson.

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Gas Barge Grounding in New York Shows Risk of Turning Hudson River into ‘Pipeline on Water’

Gas Barge Grounding in New York Shows Risk of Turning Hudson River into ‘Pipeline on Water’

DeSmogBlog: On April 4 a barge carrying 60,000 barrels of gasoline ran aground in the Hudson River and was stranded for hours while New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation tried to determine if the barge was leaking. Luckily the Hudson is a tidal river and when the tide rose, the ship was able to be freed. No gasoline had spilled this time.

However, the nature of the accident highlights the risks of moving petroleum products in barges and tankers on the Hudson River — something that may become a lot more common in the near future. Basil Seggos, head of the state Department of Environmental Conservation, explained to the Albany Times Union what caused the accident but couldn’t explain why it happened.

“He’s way off the channel,” Seggos said. “It looks like it’s on a really bad trajectory at this point. If it hadn’t hit the channel marker it would have run into the shoreline, possibly.”

Captain John Lipscomb of Hudson Riverkeeper noted how even with modern safety technologies, the reality is that accidents happen. And what really concerns Lipscomb is the possibility of one of these accidents resulting in a crude oil spill in the Hudson. A major gasoline spill would cause some environmental damage and pose fire risks. But it would not have the potentially catastrophic impact of a major spill of Bakken crude or Canadian tar sands.

Lipscomb also mentioned an event that happened in 2012 when the oil-by-rail industry was ramping up in Albany. On the first such trip down the Hudson, an oil tanker filled with Bakken oil from the Albany rail terminal ran aground when the tanker had steering issues and was unable to stay in the channel. While the accident tore some large holes in the tanker’s outer shell, luckily the tanker was double-hulled, and no oil spilled.

Source: Read more

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NY governor promises investigation of Hudson River barge grounding

NY governor promises investigation of Hudson River barge grounding

WorkBoat: An articulated tug-barge carrying 60,000 bbl. of gasoline up the Hudson River got safely off Tuesday night after running aground about 30 miles south of Albany, N.Y.

There was no spill from the double hull barge RTC 150, and a rising tide lifted the 458’x72’ barge and its tug, the 119’x40’x22’, 7,200-hp Meredith C. Reinauer. The ATB continued to Albany where it unloaded its cargo.

But the incident is certain to play into debate over a proposal for up to 10 designated barge anchorages along the river, under consideration by the Coast Guard and opposed by environmental groups and town governments along the river.

“The Hudson River is a critical piece of the Empire State, both environmentally and economically, and we are launching a full-scale response to ensure this incident does not threaten it,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who visited the scene just south of the Rip Van Winkle Bridge at the village of Catskill.

“The full resources of several state agencies including the Departments of Environmental Conservation and Health have been deployed to not only ensure a quick and thorough response, but to launch a full investigation into what caused the barge to run aground in the first place.”  Read more.

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Environmental groups sound alarm after barge carrying 60,000 barrels of gasoline runs aground on Hudson River near Catskill

Environmental groups sound alarm after barge carrying 60,000 barrels of gasoline runs aground on Hudson River near Catskill

Kingston Daily Freeman: A barge carrying about 2.5 million gallons of gasoline didn’t spill any of its cargo when it ran aground early Tuesday near the west shore of the Hudson River in Greene County, but the incident quickly became fuel for environmental groups fighting a proposal that would allow large vessels carrying crude to anchor at 10 locations on the river.

A barge called the RTC 150 ran aground on the “shallow, sandy river bottom” near Catskill about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, according to state Department of Environmental Conservation spokesman Sean Mahar.

Reinauer Transportation Co., the Staten Island firm that owns the barge, didn’t cite a cause for the accident but noted in a statement to the press that it happened “in foggy weather.”  Read more.

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Barge Runs Aground in the Hudson, Spotlighting Dangers of Anchorage Proposal

Barge Runs Aground in the Hudson, Spotlighting Dangers of Anchorage Proposal

NRDC: A barge transporting 60,000 gallons of gasoline ran aground along the Hudson River in Catskill, New York earlier today. While no injuries have been reported and so far, there has been no fuel found leaking into the river, this accident highlights the real risk we face by encouraging more barges to travel and park in the Hudson River, turning this historic waterway into a fossil fuel parking lot.

As I’ve previously written, the United States Coast Guard is reviewing a proposal to expand the number of anchorage grounds—places for ships to anchor—in the Hudson River. The U.S. Coast Guard has proposed to add 43 new anchorage sites in areas not historically navigated by large vessels. In response to the proposal, the Coast Guard received over 10,000 public comments expressing alarm over the proposed anchorages in the Hudson River.

This time, the barge was carrying gasoline, but next time, it could be crude oil, much like the barge that ran aground in 2013. More berths would lead to more barges traveling the river, which could increase the risk of crude spills, which are notoriously difficult to clean up, and which could have catastrophic ecological effects on the river’s ecosystem. If tar sands oil were to eventually be shipped by tanker on the Hudson, the risks to the ecological health of the river are even greater. Indeed, according to the National Academy of Sciences, tar sands oil is extremely difficult to recover if spilled.

We are grateful no one was hurt this morning, and that the barge that ran aground did not leak. But fossil fuels are dangerous. Creating anchorage grounds along the river that may be used to store oil threatens the safety of our communities. It’s time to put this flawed proposal to bed, and turn our attention toward building a clean energy future.  Read more.

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Gasoline tanker runs aground on Hudson River, no spill reported

Gasoline tanker runs aground on Hudson River, no spill reported

LoHud.com: A tanker carrying 2.5 million gallons of gasoline ran aground in foggy weather on the Hudson River on Tuesday morning, but nothing was spilled and no one was injured.

Reinauer Transportation Companies, headquartered in Staten Island, says the barge hauled by the tugboat Meredith Reinauer ran aground around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday near Catskill, about 30 miles south of Albany. The company says it dispatched another tugboat to help transfer the gasoline to another barge.

The U.S. Coast Guard and state pollution response teams investigated and said there was no sign of a tank puncture or leaking gasoline.

A DEC spokesman says the barge was transporting 66,000 barrels of gasoline north to the Port of Albany.

The grounding comes as the Coast Guard continues to evaluate a proposed rule that would allow 10 new anchorage fields on a stretch of the Hudson River from Yonkers to Kingston, about 20 miles north of Catskill. The proposal was put forth at the behest of the shipping industry.  Read more.

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Hudson Valley State Lawmakers Take Aim Against Anchorage Site Proposal

Hudson Valley State Lawmakers Take Aim Against Anchorage Site Proposal

WAMC: Two New York state lawmakers from the Hudson Valley have introduced legislation aimed at safeguarding the Hudson River from proposed anchorage sites. Meanwhile, the U.S. Coast Guard has not yet decided how to proceed with the controversial proposal.

Last year, the Coast Guard proposed creating up to 10 anchorage sites in the Hudson River to park as many as 43 commercial vessels between Yonkers and Kingston. As the Coast Guard wades through the more than 10,000 comments it received by the December close of the public comment period, Republican state Senator Sue Serino has introduced a bill taking aim at the proposal.

“We want to protect the progress that we’ve made on Hudson River, and that we’ve got bipartisan support on this, which we’ve had,” Serino says.

Democrat Didi Barrett introduced the same bill in the Assembly.  Listen here.

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Legislation Introduced to Safeguard the Hudson River and Surrounding Communities

Legislation Introduced to Safeguard the Hudson River and Surrounding Communities

Hudson Valley News Network: With the U.S. Coast Guard proposing to establish new anchorage points across over 90 miles of the Hudson River, Senator Sue Serino (R, C, I—Hyde Park), Assemblymember Didi Barrett (D-Columbia, Dutchess) and Scenic Hudson teamed up today to announce legislation aimed at safeguarding the river and local communities against the increased risks associated with the transport of crude oil and other hazardous materials.

State Senator Sue Serino

“Our communities have worked far too hard for far too long on revitalizing our waterfront to risk compromising the Hudson River,” said Senator Sue Serino, who sponsors the legislation. “As someone who hails from a town that actually gets their drinking water directly from the Hudson, I cannot overstate the importance of this bill. While I am sensitive to the safety concerns expressed by the Coast Guard, this legislation is about ensuring the environmental safety of the river our communities depend on, the public safety of those in the Hudson Valley, and the economic viability of our waterfront communities.”

Assemblymember Didi Barrett

“Any plan to increase oil traffic on the Hudson River with barges carrying volatile Bakken crude must be viewed as an environmental, public health and homeland security concern by New York State. Since the Coast Guard’s proposal to fast track new anchorage sites along the Hudson was first put forth, my office has spoken out in opposition, and now we are taking direct action with this new legislation,” said Assemblymember Didi Barrett, who sponsors the bill in the Assembly. “The proposed anchorages seriously threaten drinking water, local businesses, historic viewsheds, the Hudson Valley’s vibrant tourist industry and the safety of communities on both sides of the river. New York State must exert its authority in order to protect the health and well-being of the entire Hudson River Valley.”

 Read more.

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