Maloney Wants Earlier Public Hearings, Enviro Study Re: Anchorage Site Proposal

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BBC World Service: Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney was in Orange County Thursday, calling on the U.S. Coast Guard to listen to Hudson River communities when it comes to a proposal to establish anchorage sites in the river. Maloney and local elected officials want public hearings earlier in the process.

The Coast Guard proposes 10 anchorage sites — basically, rest stops — for commercial vessels along the Hudson River, from Yonkers to Kingston. Congressman Maloney and local elected officials gathered at a park along the river’s shoreline in New Windsor to call on the Coast Guard to allow local voices to be heard. Here’s Maloney, a Democrat from the 18th district.

“One of my great frustrations in Washington is that time and again I see federal agencies making decisions that affect local communities without enough input from those local communities. So far, we haven’t had a sufficient level of that public input and we’re not likely to get it for months and months when these plans will be so far down the track we don’t know whether we’ll ever pull them back,” Maloney says. “And so what we’re asking for together with Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand and other local leaders is to have immediate public hearings and to do an environmental assessment, an impact study, on what this would mean for these local communities.”

A Coast Guard spokesperson was unable to respond in time for this broadcast but, earlier in August, spokeswoman Chief Warrant Officer Allyson Conroy said the proposal is at the beginning of a two-year process and public input is welcome. The comment period ends September 7. Conroy says there will be public hearings in the spring of 2017, per the proposal process, along with an environmental study. Maloney says that’s too late.

“These things take on a life of their own and if you wait that long to do that type of assessment or that kind of input from the community, you’re pretty far down the track at that point and it can be perfunctory,” Maloney says. “I’d like the communities’ voices to be heard right now.”  Read more.

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