Coast Guard suspends Hudson River anchorages proposal

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Westfair Communications: The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended a controversial proposal that would create additional anchorages for commercial shipping along the Hudson River.

In a bulletin on Wednesday, Rear Admiral Steven Poulin, commander of the First Coast Guard District, announced that future rule-making decisions on the anchorage plan have been put on hold. Instead, he has directed a risk identification and evaluation study of the Hudson River, known as a Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment.

Poulin wrote in an editorial posted on the Regulations.gov review page that the new safety assessment was not a replacement for the rule-making process. Rather, the new review “will help us determine what the next steps might be, after a more comprehensive assessment of risks.”

Still, that was enough for the opposition to the plan to declare victory. U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-Cold Spring, said the suspension effectively killed the proposal. In a press release he called the Hudson a “national treasure that should be preserved and protected for generations – not turned into a parking lot for commercial oil ships.”

Maritime interests asked the U.S. Coast Guard in 2016 to establish 10 anchorages that could accommodate up to 43 vessels, from Yonkers to Kingston.

The Maritime Association of the Port of New York and New Jersey backs the plan to add anchorages. The association wrote in a letter to the Coast Guard in January 2016 that the current anchorage system on the Hudson River is “dated and requires immediate attention to meet modem needs to safely support larger size and higher volumes of vessels moving up and down the river.”

But the plan did not go over well in communities along the Hudson River, who feared large barges carrying oil would camp out at the anchorages. Throughout the review process, the Coast Guard received 10,212 comments online regarding the anchorages. Of those, 9,636 were opposed to the proposal, according to a review by the Coast Guard.  Read more.

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