U.S. Coast Guard Press Release: The U.S. Coast Guard identified locations and dates for the Hudson River Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment (PAWSA) Workshops.
Dates in November have been identified for two groups of waterway users and stakeholders to participate in two-day structured workshops to ensure the PAWSA process is a joint effort involving waterway users, stakeholders, and agencies to identify ways to improve the safety of the Hudson River. The Coast Guard has completed 52 PAWSA studies nationwide since the program’s inception in 1999.
On November 7-8, a workshop will be held in the Mid-Hudson region.
On November 15-16, a workshop will be held in Albany, New York.
The Coast Guard is selecting participants based on their waterway expertise and to create a broad cross-section of Hudson River stakeholders. The District Commander’s goal is to build a diverse team that helps ensure everyone’s concerns are represented through the PAWSA risk analysis process. The discussions will help promote navigation safety and environmental protection.
Members of the public desiring to be considered for participation in the workshops are invited to provide their name, contact information, connection to the waterway, experience, and related skills to HudsonRiverPAWSA@uscg.mil by Sept. 15. Formal invitations to selectees will follow.
Coast Guard experts will host two informational PAWSA webinars on Oct. 18, at 10 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. For webinar access, participants and interested community members should go to https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=pawsaMain.
WorkBoat: Under fire from New York state and local officials, the Coast Guard announced it will hold Hudson River Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment Workshops in November as part of its review of proposed barge anchorages along the river.
The Coast Guard calls its process by the acronym PAWSA, and says it has conducted 52 studies nationwide since 1999. It is a two-day structured workshop that brings together waterway users, stakeholders and government agencies to look for ways of improving safety.
At the request of the maritime industry, the Coast Guard initiated work toward establishing up to 10 designated barge anchorages on the Hudson River, a plan advocates said was needed for emergency movements – such as moving barges upriver in the event of another major storm heading to New York Harbor – and to handle anticipated traffic on the river.
That triggered a strong pushback from environmental groups, river towns, state legislators and Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration, which declared the proposal “unacceptable.” The Coast Guard paused, announcing in June it would initiate a new safety study.
The timeline announced Friday calls for a Nov. 7-8, a workshop will be held in the mid-Hudson region, and another Nov. 15-16 in the state capitol Albany, with locations and details yet to be determined.
“The Coast Guard is selecting participants based on their waterway expertise and to create a broad cross-section of Hudson River stakeholders. The District Commander’s goal is to build a diverse team that helps ensure everyone’s concerns are represented through the PAWSA risk analysis process. The discussions will help promote navigation safety and environmental protection,” the Coast Guard First District said in its announcement.
Members of the public who want to be considered for participation in the workshops are invited to provide their name, contact information, connection to the waterway, experience, and related skills to HudsonRiverPAWSA@uscg.mil by Sept. 15. The Coast Guard will follow up with sending formal invitations to those it selects.
The Coast Guard will also have its own experts will host two public, online informational PAWSA webinars on Oct. 18, at 10 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. For webinar access, participants and interested community members should log on to https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=pawsaMain.
Hudson Valley One: Jon Bowermaster isn’t into being famous, particularly. After a couple of decades as a world adventurer, author and filmmaker who documented Antarctica and other far-flung parts of our ocean planet on National Geographic expeditions, the Stone Ridge resident told Ulster Publishing that he had had decided that he “didn’t want to be ‘that kayak guy’ anymore.” He simply wants to save the world’s waterways – and these days, mostly the ones closest to home.
Nor does Bowermaster baldly exploit his status as rock star Natalie Merchant’s Significant Other, or his friendship with actor Mark Ruffalo that developed on the anti-fracking public speaking circuit (though the celebrity appearances in his films Dear Governor Cuomo and Dear President Obama certainly must have helped him get them widely screened). He keeps a low personal profile and helps his more visible friends and family protect their privacy. But when it comes to corporate and political threats to the natural environment, Jon Bowermaster gets fiercely motivated.
“I’ve spent years making films about the relationship between man and water around the world, but I always wanted to do something about the Hudson River,” he told us in 2016, as his production company, Oceans 8 Films, was marketing a new video-magazine-format series titled The Hudson: A River at Risk. Viewable online at www.hudsonriverstories.com, these mini-documentaries examine such incendiary issues as the incomplete cleanup of PCBs from the Hudson riverbed, “bomb trains” carrying Bakken crude oil across New York State, the proposed Pilgrim Pipelines, leaks and lax security at the Indian Point nuclear plant, the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project and proposals to anchor gigantic barges indefinitely in Hudson River port towns and to build huge high-voltage transmission lines through the Hudson Valley. Read more.
Hudson Valley News Network: After working to kill the Coast Guard’s initial proposal to install ten new anchorage sites on the Hudson River, Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) announced that his amendment to defund future attempts to establish these sites passed with unanimous support in the House of Representatives.
The amendment, attached to a bill which funds the Coast Guard, would prohibit the agency from establishing any anchorages along the Hudson River between Yonkers and Kingston.
“Just in case anyone gets any bright ideas, this is one more way to make sure that stupid proposal stays dead and buried,” said Rep. Maloney. “I’m not letting my guard down on this, and even after the PAWSA process, this will make sure that our river is safe and doesn’t become a parking lot for oil barges.”
“This action barring expenditure for new Anchorages will help safeguard the Hudson from potentially devastating risks to the environment and economy of the region,” said Ned Sullivan, President of Scenic Hudson. “Scenic Hudson is grateful for Congressman Maloney’s tireless and effective leadership on this key issue.” Read more.
WorkBoat: Extreme Hudson River fog and a powerful current contributed to the April 4 grounding of a barge carrying 60,000 bbls. of gasoline at Catskill, N.Y., according to a report from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation police.
The 458’x72’ double-hull barge RTC 150, pushed by the 119’x40’x22’, 7,200-hp tugboat Meredith C. Reinauer operated by the Reinauer Transportation Companies, were hauling the fuel upriver to Albany, N.Y., when the articulated tug-barge got into trouble and hung up on a stone channel marker just south of the Rip Van Winkle Bridge.
That was a good outcome for the New York maritime industry, as the grounding occured amid debate over proposed new anchorage areas on the Hudson River, an industry supported proposal vigorously opposed by environmental groups and river towns. The Coast Guard has paused its consideration of that plan, while it conducts a study to assess safety risks and other issues.
Capt. Steven Hardy, 64, told DEC police he was heading north on the river, pushing against the current in almost zero visibility and relying on electronic navigation. At around 8:15 a.m., the GPS indicated the ATB was on the easternmost side of the channel, and Hardy attempted to steer west and back to the channel center, according to the DEC report.
As he attempted to correct course, the oncoming river current, spurred by outgoing tide, “began to push the tug and barge sideways resulting in an overcorrection of course,” the report says. Read more.
MidHudsonNews.com: Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (D, NY-18), who was a driving force in killing the proposal to allow additional commercial anchorages on the Hudson River between Yonkers and Newburgh, joined the East Coast region Coast Guard leader on the river on Wednesday.
Maloney spoke with Rear Admiral Steven Poulin about the former proposal and the Coast Guard’s plan to take another approach with a Public Access Waterway Safety Assessment.
“Basically we are going back to the drawing board on this thing and they are going to look at safety on the river and all of us care about that and I care about the important work the Coast Guard does and I wanted the rear admiral to know that I would love to be his partner on this as long as we can get it right for the Hudson Valley,” Maloney said. Read more.
Poughkeepsie Journal Editorial Board: Protectors of the Hudson River – and that should be all of us – caught a big break recently when the U.S. Coast Guard pronounced it was backing off a potentially disastrous plan to designate as many as 10 commercial shipping anchorages on the river.
The federal agency had been considering an industry-backed scheme to designate these anchorages, including places in Kingston, Milton, Newburgh and Port Ewen. If implemented, this idea could clutter the river with huge vessels carrying volatile materials, such as crude oil, and dropping anchor near vulnerable riverside communities. The risks of spills and the possibility of contaminating municipal water sources would be far too great to allow that.
The Coast Guard instead says it will conduct a safety assessment of the river. But it also has not ruled out proposing new anchorages; it merely has suspended this decision until the review is done, something opponents must keep in mind. And it’s all the more reason why the State of New York, which also is responsible for the river’s health, should move decisively now. The state Legislature has acted responsibly, approving a bill to strengthen New York’s standing to halt anchorages from being allowed in inappropriate spots, but this prudent measure has not become law yet. Read more.
Hudson Valley 360: The state Department of Environmental Conservation has released an “After Action” report following an incident from April where a Reinauer Transportation LLC barge carrying over two million gallons of gasoline ran aground on the Hudson River near Dutchmen’s Landing in Catskill.
The report determined there were no violations of Environmental Conservation Law, but treacherous weather conditions along with pilot error are being considered as potential contributing factors to the barge running aground at around 8:35 a.m. April 4.
The barge was being hauled by the tugboat “Meredith” to the Port of Albany. The on-duty crew members named in the report are Capt. Steven Hardy, Dan Murray, Tyler Cooper and Ed Nadeau. Off-duty crew members Gerald Scott, Tony Gobin and Drew Aversano were also on board.
Hardy was interviewed at around 12:30 p.m. April 4, more than four hours after the incident, by DEC Environmental Conservation Investigators Aaron Markey and Matthew Nichols and Environmental Programs Specialist David Picket aboard the tugboat. The men were the first and only outside official personnel to communicate with the captain April 4. U.S. Coast Guard officials interviewed Hardy and his crew the next day, according to the report.
Most of the communication with Reinauer personnel took place on the day of the incident, DEC Executive Deputy Commissioner Kenneth Lynch said Tuesday.
“That’s when you get the most accurate information,” Lynch said. “I believe there was some followup with the company.”
Hardy told investigators he was operating the tugboat heading against the current north along the east side of the Hudson River, navigating in close to zero visibility because of fog and relying on electronic navigation equipment, according to the report.
At around 8:15 a.m. Hardy attempted to navigate to the west and back to the center of the channel, but heavy incoming tidal current began pushing the tug and barge sideways resulting in an overcorrection of course. Hardy tried to turn back north, but the barge ended up colliding with rocks adjacent to the channel marker, north of the Catskill Creek outlet.
Fog rolled in quickly and was considered the root cause of the accident, Reinauer spokesman Gary Gould said Tuesday.
“It was an unfortunate incident that came out with good results and something to hold onto and learn as we go forward,” Gould said. “Overall we were very happy with the results.” Read more.
Spectrum News: State lawmakers say New York can permanently keep oil barges from anchoring in the Hudson River — if the Coast Guard decides to revisit the issue. The legislature passed a bill this year that would change state navigation laws and allow more flexibility to limit potential anchorage sites. And now, local officials and environmental groups want to be sure the governor will sign the bill. Assemblywoman Didi Barrett discusses the issue. Read more.
Poughkeepsie Journal: While the U.S. Coast Guard recently suspended its anchorage proposal, the possibility of another effort to fill the Hudson River with anchored vessels could be on the horizon.
But legislation aimed at safeguarding the Hudson River could bolster the state’s jurisdiction over the river, protecting the area against the transportation of crude oil and other hazardous materials should the federal agency reconsider its plan, according to Sen. Sue Serino, R-Hyde Park.
Serino was joined by Assemblymember Didi Barrett, D-Hudson, local government officials, members of Scenic Hudson, and other environmental and community groups at Quiet Cove Park Monday to discuss the urgency of enacting this bill, which would put the state in a stronger position to prevent anchored vessels from posing a threat to drinking water, the environment, and local economics should the Coast Guard’s proposal, or others, surface.
“As a representative of several communities that get their drinking water from the Hudson River, I cannot overstate the importance of this bill. The anchorage proposal could have had a negative impact on everything – from environmental health, to public safety and economic development,” Serino said. Read more.
LoHud.com: In a stunning about-face on June 28, the U.S. Coast Guard announced it will “suspend future rulemaking decisions” regarding 10 anchorages, with spaces for 43 oil barges, on the Hudson River, while it conducts a Port and Waterways Safety Assessment, a study of river navigation issues. But that study and much more are required to ensure protection of the Hudson Valley, as the Environmental Policy Clinic of Pace University’s Dyson College warned Coast Guard Commandant Paul F. Zukunft more than seven months ago.
In December, Pace Clinic students wrote Adm. Zukunft requesting he withdraw the proposed anchorage plan because his agency had not complied with its procedural manual, Waterways Management: Anchorage Management Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures, which requires a safety assessment.
Had the Coast Guard conducted the safety assessment in the first place, it could have saved the public considerable time, expense and worry. The tug and barge industry’s allegation that special anchorages would address an unproven surge in safety problems was suspect at best. More likely, the anchorages were intended as 43 parking spaces for Bakken oil. But the Coast Guard published the industry claim as its own in the Federal Register, refused public and media requests for more information, and declined repeated invitations to participate in public meetings. Read more.
MidHudsonNews.com: State Senator Susan Serino (R, Hyde Park) and Assemblywoman Didi Barrett (D, City of Hudson) gathered local officials and community advocates in Poughkeepsie on Monday to urge Governor Cuomo to sign into law legislation that was passed that would prohibit barges from anchoring on the river in the Hudson Valley.
The original proposal by the US Coast Guard would allow for 10 new anchorage sites between Kingston and Yonkers. A total of 43 barges would be allowed to drop anchor and 42 of them would be allowed to stay for 30 days. The plan was met with fierce opposition from Riverkeeper, Scenic Hudson, and upwards of 10,000 comments from the public directed to the Coast Guard in opposition.
Serino and Barrett pushed legislation through their respective houses prohibiting the anchorage sites. The bill now awaits the governor’s signature. Read more.
Daily Freeman: Gov. Andrew Cuomo has given no indication whether he will sign a bill that would grant the state the power to closely scrutinize Hudson River anchorage proposals.
The bill has passed both houses of the state Legislature and is awaiting action by the governor.
Ten new anchorage sites for commercial ships have been proposed between Kingston and Yonkers.
In an email, Cuomo spokesman James Allen stated, “This is one of more than 400 bills that passed both the Senate and Assembly at the end of the recently concluded legislative session and it remains under review by counsel’s office.”
The bill would amend existing law to allow state Department of Environmental Conservation officials to work with the Department of State and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to set “conditions for petroleum-bearing vessels to enter or move upon navigable waters of the state, as well as tanker-avoidance zones” in the lower Hudson River. Read more.
Kingston Daily Freeman: Federal legislation aimed at preventing large vessels from anchoring on the Hudson River between Kingston and Yonkers has been approved by the House, U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney said Friday.
Maloney, D-Cold Spring, said language he wrote to halt the U.S. Coast Guard’s proposed rulemaking to expand mooring infrastructure along that stretch of the river was included in the Department of Homeland Security Authorization Act of 2017, which the House passed Thursday by a vote of 386-41.
Maloney’s said his “Anchorages Away Act,” if approved by the Senate and signed by the president, would require the Coast Guard, within 180 days of being enacted, to submit a report to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on the impacts of proposed anchorages on existing superfund sites and habitats of endangered species, as well as the Coast Guard’s response to those concerns.
The Coast Guard then would be barred from establishing any anchorages between Kingston and Yonkers until at least 180 days after submission of the report. Read more.
USCG Press Release: The U.S. Coast Guard has announced it will conduct a Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment of the Hudson River.
In 2016, the U.S. Coast Guard promulgated an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) to seek comprehensive public input and examine whether there is a need for a proposed rule on new anchorage grounds on the Hudson River to promote safe navigation. An ANPRM is an optional, pre-rulemaking tool for seeking information from the public.
More than 10,200 comments were received from waterway stakeholders during the ANPRM comment period that ended December 6, 2016. A summary of the comments can be found here in the docket for the ANPRM.
After a review of the comments, Rear Adm. Steven Poulin, Commander of the First Coast Guard District, has suspended future rulemaking decisions and directed a formal risk identification and evaluation of the Hudson River, known as a Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment (PAWSA). The PAWSA process is a disciplined approach to identify major waterway safety hazards, estimate risk levels, evaluate potential mitigation measures, and set the stage for implementation of selected measures to reduce risk. Additional information about a PAWSA and the entire process can be found here at the Coast Guard Navigation Center website.
In the fall, a group of waterway users and stakeholders will conduct a two-day structured workshop to meet these objectives and ensure the PAWSA process is a joint effort involving waterway users, stakeholders, and agencies to determine the safety of the waterway.
The Coast Guard will announce the workshop dates, times, locations, and participant selection process in a separate notice. Within the workshop capacity, the District Commander’s goal is to build a team that helps ensure the diverse concerns conveyed in the ANPRM comments are represented through the PAWSA risk analysis process. The discussions will help promote navigation safety and environmental protection.
If members of the public wish to be considered for participation in the workshops please email: HudsonRiverPAWSA@uscg.mil by July 21 with name, contact information, connection to the waterway, experience, and related skills.
June 28, 2017
U.S. Coast Guard 1st District PA Detachment New York
Contact: Coast Guard PA Detachment New York
Office: (212) 514-4291
After Hours: (917) 703-0983
We did it! The Coast Guard suspended its proposal to add more anchorage sites for fracked-oil barges on the Hudson River!
That’s great news, but we’re not done yet.
Because the proposal could come back in the future, we need to make sure Governor Cuomo signs the bill strengthening New York’s ability to protect the Hudson from fracked oil.
The Coast Guard’s decision comes after months of grassroots organizing, building people power in opposition to this dangerous plan! Last fall, Food & Water Watch supporters like YOU submitted nearly 2,000 comments in opposition to increasing oil barge traffic on the Hudson.
With the Coast Guard’s proposal looming, we worked with our allies at Scenic Hudson and Riverkeeper to convince Albany lawmakers to strengthen protection of the Hudson River from fracked oil. Thanks to YOU, we generated over 4,000 emails and hundreds of phone calls to the legislature, which led to its decision at the end of June to pass a bill to increase New York’s oversight over oil barges on the river.
Make sure Governor Cuomo finishes the job by signing the bill to protect the Hudson.
Meanwhile, the Coast Guard has agreed to conduct a risk assessment of its proposal. We will work with our allies to ensure that the public’s voice is adequately represented in this review process. While the Coast Guard’s proposal is temporarily halted, it is imperative that Governor Cuomo sign legislation passed in Albany, so that New York has increased authority to help block any future attempts by the Coast Guard to revisit this plan.
Thanks for your persistent activism,
Food & Water Watch
Times Union: SeaChange is a social movement whose efforts to stop climate change unfold atop and along the Hudson River. This weekend SeaChangers will be in Troy and Albany.
A crew of artists, musicians and Mohawk tribe members will launch a 10-day voyage down the river. They are scheduled to board a boat near Troy’s Farmers Market at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. A Mohawk DJ will provide music on the cruise to Albany where the group will observe air, soil and water pollution problems in the South End and the Hudson River. The crew will stage a theatrical performance that evening. Sunday morning, there will be a riverfront ceremony before SeaChange continues its journey.
It sounds like 24 hours designed to make radio show host and climate change denier Alex Jones shriek but it might otherwise struggle for attention on a summer weekend. But Solar Sal, the solar-powered boat that will transport SeaChange, is a proven crowd magnet. Solar Sal’s creator, designer and captain is Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute professor David Borton, who teaches mechanical, aerospace, and nuclear engineering. SeaChange organizer Kevin Buckland met Borton when the scientist visited a SeaChange event.
SeaChange’s ambitious goals also include saving the Hudson River from pollution and “bomb barges.” (The latter term is the nickname for vessels that transport volatile Bakken crude through New York via waterways rather than on land by trucks or trains). Read more
Rye City Review: After an outpouring of negative commentary and bipartisan backlash from elected officials, a proposal from the U.S. Coast Guard to add dozens of anchorages across the Hudson River has been suspended, but may not be fully dead in the water.
According to a statement made by the Coast Guard following their decision to halt the process on June 28, the suspension of a rule-making process to install 43 additional anchorages across the Hudson will coincide with a study of the waterway’s safety.
Concern over the safe passage of barges traversing the Hudson has been frequently cited as the agency’s impetus for floating the anchorage proposal in the first place.
The study, called a Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment, PAWSA, will assess “safety hazards, estimate risk levels, evaluate potential mitigation measures, and set the stage for implementation of selected measures to reduce risk,” according to the Coast Guard.
In addition to political opposition, including Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, a Republican, who described the Coast Guard plan as a “parking lot” for large oil barges, public comments against the anchorage proposal, which totaled more than 10,000 before the comment period closed, were overwhelmingly negative.
In December last year, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, also called for more scrutiny of the Coast Guard’s proposal. Read more.
WAMC: Hudson Valley Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney Monday announced next steps regarding the suspended U.S. Coast Guard proposal for anchorage sites along the Hudson River. WAMC’s Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Allison Dunne reports from the Newburgh waterfront.
The Coast Guard at the end of June suspended the rulemaking process for a proposal of up to 10 additional anchorage sites between Yonkers and Kingston. And it directed a formal study through a longstanding process called a ports and waterways safety assessment, or a PAWSA. Maloney, a Democrat who represents the 18th District, has four principles he wants to ensure are included.
“The first is that Hudson Valley voices have to matter,” Maloney says. “Local voices have to matter.”
The second is relying on facts and science.
“Number three, the river gets a vote. The river gets a vote,” Maloney says. “The Hudson River is a national treasure.”
The fourth is let the sunshine in — a call for transparency.
“Over my dead body is this going to be a backdoor way to bring this proposal back. And over my dead body is it going to be some way to shut out the local community and railroad through some ill-guided proposal in another form. We have killed the anchorages proposals; that’s good. We’re putting the final nails in the coffin on that,” Maloney says. “And we’re going to go forward on a constructive conversation on public safety but it has to align with these principles. And we are going to bend and mold the PAWSA process in whatever way we have to do to get that done.” Read more.
Recordonline.com: Opponents of a controversial proposal to create 43 sites between Kingston and Yonkers where barges and tugboats plying the Hudson River could anchor celebrated when the U.S. Coast Guard announced last month a suspension of the plan while it undertook a risk assessment of the river and its ports.
Those same opponents are now demanding that the Coast Guard give equal representatives to Hudson River towns and municipalities when it chooses the workgroup that will oversee the study.
While the process calls for “waterway users” to represent 60 percent of the workgroup and the balance “stakeholders,” U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, local officials and environmentalists gathered at the City of Newburgh’s waterfront on Monday to say they will demand that the mix be 50/50.
Maloney outlined four principles: the inclusion of local representatives; a reliance on science; a consideration of the river’s needs and a transparent process that would include public hearings.
“We’re not taking our eyes off this for a second,” said Maloney, who has sought to kill the plan through federal legislation. “We are not going to be hoodwinked, we are not going to be railroaded and we are not going to be left out of this process.” Read more.
Hudson Valley News Network: On the waterfront in the City of Newburgh, Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) and local stakeholders announced the next steps regarding the U.S. Coast Guard anchorage proposal, which was suspended on June 28, 2017.
Instead, the Coast Guard announced that it will conduct a “Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment” or PAWSA to determine next steps and inform future rulemakings
The PAWSA is still being planned, but will include working groups of stakeholders appointed by the Coast Guard.
In response, Rep. Maloney demanded the Coast Guard establish certain standards for the creation of the upcoming PAWSA.
“This has been a team effort from day one – thousands of people wrote in to tell the Coast Guard this idea stinks – and just about every elected official in this neck of the woods was on the team that helped kill it,” said Rep. Maloney. “We know the old proposal is pretty much dead, but as this new review is planned we have to make sure it’s done right – local folks must have as much input as they did the first time around, we’ve got to insist on using the most up-to-date science, and the process must be transparent. Our river is a national treasure, you can be sure I’ll continue leading the fight to make sure it is preserved and protected for generations.” Read more.
Poughkeepsie Journal: In response to your June 27 editorial (“N.Y. moves to protect Hudson – but where are the feds?”), there is good news to report for readers of this newspaper and other river-community residents concerned about the future of the Hudson.
On June 28, the Coast Guard announced it is suspending its plan to add 10 anchorages along the Hudson River from Yonkers to Kingston.The new anchorages would have effectively turned our river into a parking lot for barges, imperiling public safety and health, and threatening the local recreational economy this natural resource supports. Since news of the Coast Guard’s original proposal emerged, I have called on the agency to work with our communities and listen to their concerns.
On May 24, I successfully included a provision in the Coast Guard’s budget bill to delay the new anchorages until a study had been completed and Congress could review public comments. I saw the opportunity with a must-pass piece of legislation affecting the Coast Guard to add a provision which would halt the anchorage process and get this provision enacted into law. After I spoke out last year, the Coast Guard lifted its original Sept. 7, 2016 deadline for written comments and extended the public comment period until the end of that year.
The news that the Coast Guard will suspend its plan to add these permanent barge anchorages is a victory for the Hudson Valley. Our community spoke with one voice, and Washington listened.
U.S. Rep. John J. Faso, R-Kinderhook
19th Congressional District
MidHudsonNews.com: The U.S. Coast Guard may have suspended the Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment, an assessment of establishing more anchorages up and down the Hudson River.
Surrounded by local officials and environmental group representatives, Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (D, NY-18), said that’s good, as far is it goes, but, the Hudson Valley needs full participatory status in any group or ongoing discussions on best use of the river.
“My concern about the initial process was that we had the interest of the barge operators, which is to store product close to market, and the interest of the Coast Guard, which is to minimize their enforcement hassles when it comes to illegal anchoring. And yet, we didn’t have as a priority, the facts about safety and the facts about harm to the river and the potential threat to local communities.” Read more.
Westchester News: Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and several environmental groups are demanding the United States Coast Guard meet new standards in its ports and waterways safety assessment concerning a proposed anchorage site in the Hudson River.
The Coast Guard already suspended its plan for the site last month after facing stiff resistance. It would have allowed dozens of additional barges to drop anchor in the Hudson River between Yonkers and Kingston.
Many residents complained that the barges would destroy scenic views of the river and create dangers for recreational water use. The Coast Guard says it received more than 10,000 public comments on the issue, with more than 90 percent of them opposed to the plan.
Officials say the assessment will help decision makers determine how best to accommodate the barges that travel down the river while keeping other stakeholders involved Read more.
WAMC: A New York congressman from the Hudson Valley is standing his ground after declaring last week that a U.S. Coast Guard proposal for Hudson River anchorage sites is effectively dead. Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney was the first to announce the Coast Guard’s decision to suspend the proposal and say it was killed. Others have been more circumspect in their descriptions.
Congressman Maloney, a Democrat who represents the 18th District, broke the news June 28 that the Coast Guard was suspending future rulemaking decisions on a proposal for up to 10 anchorage sites on the Hudson between Yonkers and Kingston. Maloney’s press office issued a release with the headline “Maloney Announces Major Victory: Coast Guard Agrees to Kill Anchorages Proposal.” During a press call the same day, he characterized the proposal as effectively dead. He reiterated his stance Thursday.
“I’m very confident saying that that idea as proposed is now dead. The fact that they want to talk about safety on the river, well, fine with me, we’re always willing to have that conversation,” Maloney says. “But if they think they’re going to resurrect this proposal somehow, well they’re going to find that our opposition has only gotten broader and stronger, and they’re going to have a problem with me.”
The Coast Guard had planned to release news of the suspension two days after Maloney. Chief Warrant Officer Allyson Conroy is U.S. Coast Guard spokeswoman and had this to say the day after Maloney spread the word.
“It is not effectively killed; it is suspended for the moment, that we can take part in this ports and waterways safety assessment,” says Conroy. Read more.
The Riverdale Press: There won’t be any new places to anchor along the Hudson River. At least not for the foreseeable future.
The U.S. Coast Guard announced last week they delayed a decision on granting 10 additional anchoring site requests along the river. Instead, they will conduct a study to gain a clearer understanding of safety and environmental risks of the waterway, before conducting an informational workshop in the fall.
“This whole process is an inclusive process,” Allyson Conroy, a chief warrant officer for the Coast Guard, said. “We want to include all of the people that use the Hudson on a regular basis.”
Right now, there is just one federally reserved anchorage ground for ships in the 70-mile stretch of the Hudson between Yonkers and Kingston. That site, however, closes for a three-month span between December and February each year.
The sites are similar to rest stops on an interstate. They allow ship crews to take breaks or handle emergencies. Mariners are concerned they’ll be stuck in no-man’s land if they get caught in extreme weather, or experience some other kind of problem.
The proposal introduced last year would allow for 10 additional sites along the river from Yonkers to Kingston. The Coast Guard allowed the public to weigh in on the matter, and in the process received more than 10,000 comments in a six-month span, according to the military branch. A vast majority of that feedback — around 90 percent — was negative.
“This issue is not new,” Conroy said. “What is unique is that we were able to garner so much feedback and conversation.” Read more.
The Legislative Gazette: The Coast Guard has announced it will “suspend future rule making decisions” regarding a controversial proposal to put new commercial shipping anchorage points along the Hudson River.
The proposal would have set up 10 new anchorage points and 43 new berths between Kingston and Yonkers for commercial shipping vessels.
The Coast Guard’s decision to suspend consideration of the proposal comes after it was vocally opposed by both state lawmakers and New York residents.
The maritime industry originally requested the anchorage points last summer to facilitate the shipment of crude oil along the Hudson.
In direct response to the Coast Guard’s proposal, both houses in the state Legislature passed a bill that would give the state more authority to issue guidelines regarding anchorage points in the Hudson River.
The bill, passed by a vote of 93-2 in the Assembly and 62-1 in the Senate, comes in the wake of an industry request to the U.S. Coast Guard for 10 new anchorage grounds – 2,400-acres with space for 43 vessels – which is “an unnecessary and drastic proposal intended to support the global oil trade,” according to Riverkeeper.
The legislation would also give the state the power to set conditions and rules for petroleum vessels carrying oil. Governor Cuomo has not yet signed the bill into law.
The Examiner News: The U.S. Coast Guard has decided to temporarily suspend plans to create 43 new anchorages in 10 locations along the Hudson River from Yonkers to Kingston.
After reviewing more than 10,200 comments that were received from elected officials and residents during a comment period that ended last December, Rear Adm. Steven Poulin, commander of the First Coast Guard District, announced last week the Coast Guard was suspending “future rulemaking decisions” and directing a formal risk identification and evaluation of the Hudson River, known as a Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment (PAWSA).
The PAWSA process is designed to identify major waterway safety hazards, estimate risk levels, evaluate potential mitigation measures, and set the stage for implementation of selected measures to reduce risks.
The Coast Guard was proposing to use more than 2,000 acres of the Hudson for barges.
There is currently only one anchorage ground for vessels along a 100-mile stretch in the Hudson River from New York City to Albany. The Coast Guard, which has noted the plan is only in an exploratory phase, has publicly stated the proposal was initiated by the Maritime Association of the Port of NY/NJ Tug and Barge Committee, the Hudson River Port Pilot’s Association, and the American Waterways Operators.
Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, during a teleconference call, called the change in course a “major victory.” He said the decision effectively ends the coast guard’s proposal.
Maloney said he couldn’t think of anything he’s tried harder to kill than the anchorage plan. He noted the hundreds of residents’ comments were critical to stopping the Coast Guard from going forward. About 95 percent of comments submitted were against the coast guard’s plan, Maloney said.
“This proposal was a bad idea from the start,” he said. “This was a bad idea, we didn’t want it, we were going to work tirelessly to kill it and we won that fight.”
When pressed on whether the proposal is actually dead, Maloney stood by his assertion. He said the Coast Guard is pursuing another process that will look at the issue in a different way. Maloney stressed he doesn’t believe any additional sites on the Hudson River are necessary, pointing out there are already two sites on the river and that is sufficient enough.
Maloney vowed continue to watch developments “like a hawk.” Read more.
Poughkeepsie Journal: The U.S. Coast Guard’s decision to back off a potentially dangerous plan to designate as many as 10 commercial shipping anchorages on the Hudson River is a clear victory for the public — even more so considering what the federal agency says it will do next.
The Coast Guard is suspending a determination about the proposal but will rightly push forward with a safety assessment of the river. That will involve a wide segment of interested groups, from the shipping and commercial industry, to environmental and recreational organizations, as well as community representatives.
This comprehensive, more cautious strategy is completely justified. In this day and age, it’s easy to be cynical about government policies and to question exactly how much the public can truly influence a debate. But, in this case, it’s telling the Coast Guard made this announcement after receiving more than 10,000 comments, 94 percent of which opposed the designation of the anchorage grounds. (Three percent supported the idea, and the other 3 percent offered a neutral opinion.)
Rear Admiral Steven D. Poulin, commander of the First Coast Guard District, said, “This robust public participation gave us excellent insights that are helping shape the way forward. The comments convinced me of the necessity to do the (risk assessment).”
The federal agency had been considering an industry-backed idea to designate anchorages along the Hudson, including places in Kingston, Milton, Newburgh and Port Ewen. This would enable dozens of huge vessels to drop anchor in these areas. While the shipping industry argues the anchorages are necessary to safely transport cargo, opponents spoke out in strong, compelling terms, saying the anchorages will encourage more shipping of volatile materials, in particular crude oil. That, in turn, increases the chances of spills and contamination of municipal water sources, among other detrimental impacts.
Poulin pointed out the river “historically has been and will remain a vital corridor for maritime commerce.” But he also called the river “a beautiful national treasure. It also serves as a source of drinking water, recreation, tourism and economic prosperity. The Coast Guard’s role on the river includes protecting the environment and promoting navigational safety.”
Indeed, it does. Risks to the great river abound. It needs all the guardians it can get. It’s refreshing to see the Coast Guard affirming its role. Read more.
Yonkers Daily Voice: With the U.S. Coast Guard suspending plans to create anchor berths for barges throughout the Hudson Valley, local officials are celebrating their victory after more than a year of deliberating.
The Coast Guard agreed to t ake the deal off the table and “suspend future rulemaking decisions,” regarding the plan to install 16 barge anchor berths across 715 acres on the water between Yonkers and Dobbs Ferry earlier this week.
Riverkeeper President Paul Gallay rejoiced at the news, praising all that came together to help kill the Coast Guard’s proposal.
“With one voice, more than 10,000 Hudson Valley residents and their elected officials set the Coast Guard straight on the many flaws in the industry’s request to site ten new long-term anchorages to facilitate additional crude oil transport down the Hudson,” he stated. “Now, the Coast Guard is suspending its review of that plan, admitting ‘there’s a lot we didn’t know about the river.’
“The main lesson learned by the feds is this: Those of us who live on and love the Hudson River will not let it come to harm. We will never, ever let a misbegotten plan like this one jeopardize a half-century of progress in restoring America’s First River.”
Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino called it a “clear win for the people of Westchester County and all those who enjoy the Hudson River.” Read more.