State throttles back on Hudson oil barge plan

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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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