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

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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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