Barge Parking on the River: The Highland Current looks at the comments

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Highland Current, from the editor: As Brian PJ Cronin reported in our July 15 issue, the U.S. Coast Guard is considering creating 10 overnight barge parking lots, called anchorage grounds, on the Hudson River, including in an area between Beacon and Newburgh for up to five barges. (There are presently two anchorage grounds, at Yonkers and Hyde Park; the proposal would add 43 more berths.)

The Coast Guard is accepting public comments on the proposal.  The deadline, which had been Sept. 7, has been extended to Dec. 7.

In a letter to the Coast Guard, the American Waterways Operators argued that current anchorage space is “woefully inadequate” and said that while the industry is willing to make accommodations, “Coast Guard policy must not be driven by aesthetics but by safe usage of the waterways.”

The Maritime Association of the Port of New York/New Jersey said it anticipates increased barge traffic, and the need for more anchorage, due to the lifting in December of the 40-year ban on American crude oil exports.

Environmental groups have been organizing opposition. “This ill-conceived proposal … is a throwback to the days when rivers like the Hudson were often treated as stagnant industrial canals,” said Dave Conover, interim director at Hudson River Sloop Clearwater.  Michelle Smith, director of the Hudson Highlands Land Trust, wrote: “It is still early in the rule-making process and comments from river communities can be very influential on how this process evolves. In particular, it is important that the Coast Guard requires a full and complete environmental review.” Read more.

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