Hudson Valley State Lawmakers Take Aim Against Anchorage Site Proposal

WAMC: Two New York state lawmakers from the Hudson Valley have introduced legislation aimed at safeguarding the Hudson River from proposed anchorage sites. Meanwhile, the U.S. Coast Guard has not yet decided how to proceed with the controversial proposal.

Last year, the Coast Guard proposed creating up to 10 anchorage sites in the Hudson River to park as many as 43 commercial vessels between Yonkers and Kingston. As the Coast Guard wades through the more than 10,000 comments it received by the December close of the public comment period, Republican state Senator Sue Serino has introduced a bill taking aim at the proposal.

“We want to protect the progress that we’ve made on Hudson River, and that we’ve got bipartisan support on this, which we’ve had,” Serino says.

Democrat Didi Barrett introduced the same bill in the Assembly.  Listen here.


Legislation Introduced to Safeguard the Hudson River and Surrounding Communities

Hudson Valley News Network: With the U.S. Coast Guard proposing to establish new anchorage points across over 90 miles of the Hudson River, Senator Sue Serino (R, C, I—Hyde Park), Assemblymember Didi Barrett (D-Columbia, Dutchess) and Scenic Hudson teamed up today to announce legislation aimed at safeguarding the river and local communities against the increased risks associated with the transport of crude oil and other hazardous materials.

State Senator Sue Serino

“Our communities have worked far too hard for far too long on revitalizing our waterfront to risk compromising the Hudson River,” said Senator Sue Serino, who sponsors the legislation. “As someone who hails from a town that actually gets their drinking water directly from the Hudson, I cannot overstate the importance of this bill. While I am sensitive to the safety concerns expressed by the Coast Guard, this legislation is about ensuring the environmental safety of the river our communities depend on, the public safety of those in the Hudson Valley, and the economic viability of our waterfront communities.”

Assemblymember Didi Barrett

“Any plan to increase oil traffic on the Hudson River with barges carrying volatile Bakken crude must be viewed as an environmental, public health and homeland security concern by New York State. Since the Coast Guard’s proposal to fast track new anchorage sites along the Hudson was first put forth, my office has spoken out in opposition, and now we are taking direct action with this new legislation,” said Assemblymember Didi Barrett, who sponsors the bill in the Assembly. “The proposed anchorages seriously threaten drinking water, local businesses, historic viewsheds, the Hudson Valley’s vibrant tourist industry and the safety of communities on both sides of the river. New York State must exert its authority in order to protect the health and well-being of the entire Hudson River Valley.”

 Read more.


Bipartisan bill in NY Legislature seeks control over Hudson River anchorage plans

Kingston Freeman: A bipartisan effort to make it more difficult to establish large-vessel anchorage grounds on the Hudson River is being spearheaded by state Sen. Sue Serino, R-Hyde Park, and state Assemblywoman Didi Barrett, D-Hudson.

Legislation was introduced this week to the Environmental Conservation Committees in both the Senate and Assembly in an effort to pre-empt a pending U.S. Coast Guard decision about whether to allow barges and other large vessels to anchor at 10 sites between Kingston and Yonkers.

“It strengthens what the state guidelines for these barges is,” Bill Gustafon, chief of staff for Barrett, said of the legislation. “It can’t supersede federal law, but it can increase New York state’s authority for what it can do.”

The legislation calls for amending existing law to allow the state Department of Environmental Conservation to work with the state Department of State and the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to set “conditions for petroleum-bearing vessels to enter or move upon navigable waters of the state” and to establish “tanker-avoidance zones.”  Read more.


Hastings-on-Hudson to screen “The Hudson, A River at Risk” with discussion

Friday, March 24th, 6:30pm–9pm
James Harmon Community Center, 44 Main Street
Screening begins at 7pm; Come at 6:30 to browse materials on environmental issues and chat with fellow residents.

Following the screening, join a community conversation on environmental stewardship with a panel discussionand Q&A, featuring representatives from Hudson Valley organizations including Scenic Hudson and Riverkeeperalong with other guests.

To learn more about the film:

The Panel:

Jon Bowermaster, President, Oceans 8 Films and One Ocean Media Foundation
Online bio:

Writer, filmmaker and adventurer, Jon is a six-time grantee of the National Geographic Expeditions Council. One of the Society’s ‘Ocean Heroes,’ his first assignment for National Geographic Magazine was documenting a 3,741 mile crossing of Antarctica by dogsled. Jon has written a dozen books and produced/directed more than fifteen documentary films.

Erin Doran, Staff Attorney, Riverkeeper
Online bio:

Erin joined Riverkeeper as a staff attorney in 2016 after five years of representing non-profit organizations and community associations as an attorney with Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. Her experience also includes evaluating and commenting on environmental permits, analyzing the implementation of environmental laws, and developing educational trainings for local watershed advocates.

Audrey Friedrichsen, Land Use and Environmental Advocacy Attorney, Scenic Hudson
Online bio:

A Hudson Valley native, Audrey Friedrichsen studied biology at Cornell University before earning her J.D. with a Certificate in Environmental Law from Pace Law School. She returned to Pace for a Master of Laws in Environmental Law, with a track in Land Use and Sustainable Development, in 2014. Before joining Scenic Hudson, she was in private practice for 10 years, where she practiced land use, zoning, planning, municipal and environmental law.

Paul Harris, President, Paul Harris Development

Paul Harris works with The Carbon Underground to promote Regenerative Agriculture. He has also worked on energy projects, such as power plants, LNG terminals and natural gas pipelines for clients in the US, Canada and France, for over 30 years.  He is on the Board of Raey Hiwot, an organization that helps girls in rural Ethiopia stay in school, and has lived in Hastings since 1989 with Susan Harris, who co-leads the Hastings Vine Squad.

Learn more on Facebook.


Dutchess legislature on record opposing anchorages, but it was not unanimous Dutchess lawmakers joined counterparts in Ulster and Orange counties in opposing the commercial marine industry’s request of the Coast Guard to expand barge anchorages in the Hudson River.  Most county legislators, on both sides, concurred, but Republican Alan Surman said his colleagues were not looking at the big picture.

“The shipment of oil down the Hudson River has been going on for years, mostly through very, very long freight trains and they are more problematic,” he said, noting the derailment in Newburgh last week.   “Transporting oil by barge is far safer,” Surman said, arguing the county has no business involving itself in interstate commerce.

Democrat Minority Leader Micki Strawinski said Surman is missing the point.

“The resolution talks about anchoraging these barges, berthing them in several places along the Hudson River,” Strawinski said.  “We all believe that this, many of us believe that this is a very dangerous thing and could cause us more problems.”

The memorializing resolution passed with one dissent, from Surman


In fight against anchorage plan, Rhinebeck Town Board joins Hudson River Waterfront Alliance

The Town Board members has agreed to join the Hudson River Waterfront Alliance, a coalition fighting a proposal to establish barge and large-vessel anchorages on the Hudson River, including one along the town’s shoreline and two immediately across the river.

The decision was made during a meeting Monday at which Supervisor Elizabeth Spinzia said there would not be any obligation to contribute financially toward opposition activities.

“There’s no dues, no legal fee,” she said. “We won’t incur any costs to support this.”

The proposed Rhinebeck anchorage site directly in front of the shoreline would be the Kingston Flats South Anchorage Ground, covering about 279 acres and accommodating up to three vessels for long-term use.  Read more.


Federal lawmakers fight Hudson anchorages The federal fight against the Hudson River anchorage plan has been revived, with two lawmakers re-introducing legislation to prevent the Coast Guard from establishing new moorings for commercial ships off local shores.

On Monday, Representatives Sean Patrick Maloney, D-Cold Spring, and Eliot Engel, D-Bronx, along with Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano, gathered on the Yonkers waterfront Monday to tout the a bill that would halt any plan by the U.S. Coast Guard to allow commercial vessels to moor at 10 locations in the Hudson River between Yonkers and Kingston, including areas near Montrose and Tompkins Cove. Watch the news report.


Maloney Introduces Legislation to ‘Protect’ Hudson

Hudson Valley News Network: A group of Hudson Valley public officials, led by Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, announced plans to propose legislation to prevent the U.S. Coast Guard from approving a proposal to erect ten anchorage sites for oil barges on the Hudson River.

Joined by Rep. Eliot Engel and Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano, Maloney introduced The Hudson River Protection Act. This act would bar the Department of Homeland Security from planting the anchorages for vessels with potentially hazardous waste material in certain locations. Sites within five miles of nuclear power stations, Superfund cleanup designations, areas on the National Registry of Historic Places, and living habitats for endangered species would be prohibited.

“When it comes to anchorages, my message is simple: we don’t want em, we don’t need em, and working together we’re going to kill this proposal,” said Maloney at a press conference this morning.

Source: Read more


Legislation Would Block Oil Barges From Anchoring On The Hudson

CBS New York: The Coast Guard is getting ready for increased barge traffic as the Hudson River is used to move oil from Albany to the city, but opponents are saying ‘no.’

Lawmakers gathered on the Yonkers riverfront Monday, to announce new proposed legislation to ban oil barges from anchoring near sensitive areas on the river.

Environmentalists said it’s about time.

“The idea that you would double down on crude oil shipments on the Hudson when the Hudson is coming back as a place to live, as a place to recreate, as a place to build your business is just crazy,” riverkeeper Paul Gallay said.  Read more


Lawmakers, environmentalists seek to halt Hudson River barge plan

News 12 Westchester: Lawmakers and environmentalists say they are taking steps to stop the Coast Guard’s plan to put more barges in the Hudson River.

State and local leaders held a news conference today revealing the steps they will take to stop the barges.

The U.S. Coast Guard’s proposal centers on plans to create 10 new anchor barges and 43 additional anchorage berths on the Hudson River, from Yonkers to Kingston. The Coast Guard says it would allow increased movement in the transport of crude oil up and down the river.  Watch the news report..


Backlash over plan to park oil barges on Hudson Just north of the George Washington Bridge near the preserved banks of Palisades Interstate Park lies a 715-acre section of the Hudson River that could soon become a virtual parking lot for the scores of oil barges that travel the waterway.

The U.S. Coast Guard is evaluating a proposal that would allow up to 16 barges to drop anchor in the middle of the river between Alpine and Yonkers, N.Y., to accommodate an expected increase in the amount of oil hauled to and from Albany N.Y.

It is the largest and southernmost of seven proposed anchorages on the Hudson, and has galvanized local officials, residents and environmental groups in New York. They say the plan is an environmental threat that will “re-industrialize” the river, make it unsightly and increase the risk of an oil spill. Supporters say it will make the river safer by having more places to anchor with increased traffic.

The issue, however, has gone largely unnoticed in New Jersey even though more people live along the state’s 26 miles of waterfront than ever before. Of the 10,212 comments sent to the Coast Guard about the project, few came from New Jersey.

“It’s the forgotten river for so many here, but this proposal will affect New Jersey, no question,” said Gil Hawkins, president of the Hudson River Fishermen’s Association, who lives in Leonia. “When you go to the Palisades and look down and see these giant oil barges instead of small boats or eagles hunting fish, maybe then people will realize how important this issue is.”  Read more.


Esopus is asked to join group opposing proposed Hudson River anchorage sites

Kingston Daily Freeman: Just north of the George Washington Bridge near the preserved banks of Palisades Interstate Park lies a 715-acre section of the Hudson River that could soon become a virtual parking lot for the scores of oil barges that travel the waterway.

The U.S. Coast Guard is evaluating a proposal that would allow up to 16 barges to drop anchor in the middle of the river between Alpine and Yonkers, N.Y., to accommodate an expected increase in the amount of oil hauled to and from Albany N.Y.

It is the largest and southernmost of seven proposed anchorages on the Hudson, and has galvanized local officials, residents and environmental groups in New York. They say the plan is an environmental threat that will “re-industrialize” the river, make it unsightly and increase the risk of an oil spill. Supporters say it will make the river safer by having more places to anchor with increased traffic.

The issue, however, has gone largely unnoticed in New Jersey even though more people live along the state’s 26 miles of waterfront than ever before. Of the 10,212 comments sent to the Coast Guard about the project, few came from New Jersey.

“It’s the forgotten river for so many here, but this proposal will affect New Jersey, no question,” said Gil Hawkins, president of the Hudson River Fishermen’s Association, who lives in Leonia. “When you go to the Palisades and look down and see these giant oil barges instead of small boats or eagles hunting fish, maybe then people will realize how important this issue is.”  Read more.


U.S. Coast Guard Anchorage Proposal May Harm Health of Hudson

The Groundhog: If you’re an individual who has lived for an extended amount of time in the Hudson Valley, chances are that at least one important memory in your life is linked to the Hudson River. You may have proudly taken your parents or grandparents down there during a college visit, or attempted to woo a potential significant other with the sways of the water, or even just gone down by the docks with a few friends for a moment of peace and quiet after a stressful week. Whatever it may entail, these moments are made timeless and memorable by the picturesque scenery of the river, a feeling that is seldom replicated in other locations.

Now imagine those same moments, interrupted by a noisy, smoke billowing, thousand pound oil barge… Not quite the same impact, is it?

That sort of big-business interruption to peaceful river life is one of the many reasons behind the continuing controversy over the U.S. Coast Guard’s proposal for oil barge anchorages sites on the Hudson. The preliminary concept, which would introduce ten locations from Yonkers to Kingston for oil barges to dock, has been widely protested by Hudson Valley residents, politicians, and environmental activists, inciting a months long struggle between the financial interests of federal government and the culture of small town society.  Read more.

Source: U.S. Coast Guard Anchorage Proposal May Harm Health of Hudson – The Groundhog – Medium


Riverkeeper: Fireside chat with the The Hudson: A River at Risk

WHEN: February 16, 2017: 7:00PM to 9:00PM
WHERE: St. James’ Episcopal Church 4526 Albany Post Rd, Hyde Park, New York 12538 map
TO ATTEND: Facebook Event

A series of short films produced by environmentalist, adventurer and filmmaker Jon Bowermaster will highlight the growing threats to the river environment and the local towns. The films will feature segments on the transportation of crude oil by rail along the river, the PCB’s still remaining after the required cleanup from General Electric, the shutdown of the aging Indian Point nuclear plant, pipelines, and the proposed barge anchorage sites. The 45-minute presentation “The Hudson: A River at Risk” will take place February 16 at historic St. James’ Chapel, 10 East Market Street, Hyde Park (across for the Post Office) at 7:00 p.m. as part of the Fireside Chat series sponsored by St. James’ Church. Immediately following the screening, filmmaker Jon Bowermaster, Jeremy Cherson from Riverkeeper and David Ray, Town Councilman from Hyde Park will discuss the implications of these projects.  Read more.


Saugerties town government opposes pipelines, anchorages

Hudson Valley OneSaugerties town government has come out in opposition to the Pilgrim Pipelines. Saying it fears the possibility of “the threat of leakages, spills, fires and other types of catastrophes that can seriously harm communities like Saugerties through which the products are transported,” the Saugerties town board voted at its February 1 meeting to urge the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the state Thruway Authority, the agencies scrutinizing the project, to deny it the use of the Thruway corridor.

The town board also urged the United States Coast Guard to deny permits for anchorages along the Hudson River of any shipping carrying Bakken crude oil. The only way Bakken shale oil should be permitted to be transported along railway lines through Saugerties would be if “rail, car and other railroad safety issues are resolved and the at-grade private crossings in the Town of Saugerties are eliminated.”  Read more.


Anchorages plan for Hudson River unites Westchester, Dutchess, Orange opposition

Kingston Daily Freeman: When the proposal to create large-vessel anchorage grounds at 10 locations on the Hudson River between Kingston and Yonkers was announced, Yonkers Mayor Michael Spano brought together a handful of municipalities in Westchester County to oppose the plan.

And as the U.S. Coast Guard reviews 10,206 public comments on the proposal, that group, the Hudson River Waterfront Alliance, is expanding up the Hudson River.

Spano and environmental leaders on Tuesday briefed local officials from Dutchess and Orange counties about the anchorages plan and the opposition.

Beacon Mayor Randy Casale was the first to step up after Tuesday’s meeting to seek his city’s commitment to join.

“That is what we are going to do to continue to fight so they don’t put the anchorages here, so they don’t make a parking lot out of the Hudson River,” Casale said.  Read more.


Riverkeeper, Scenic Hudson to Sue Oil Transport Company for Violating Clean Air Act

Ossining Patch: A broad coalition including Riverkeeper, Scenic Hudson, Albany County, a public housing tenants association, and other environmental and conservation organizations intend to file a federal court lawsuit against Global Companies for failure to have a valid Clean Air Act permit to operate its crude-by-rail terminal in Albany’s South End.

The issue for Riverkeeper and Scenic Hudson is the danger of crude oil shipments to the Hudson River — whether by train or barge.

“With very little public awareness and no study of environmental impacts, the oil industry has made the Hudson Valley into one arm of a dangerous “virtual pipeline” for crude oil that snakes thousands of miles by rail, barge and ship from oil fields in North Dakota, Canada and elsewhere, to refineries on both coasts,” Riverkeeper says on its website.  Read more


The Hudson River at Risk Film Screening: PCBs, Anchorages, and Pipeline Projects

Riverkeeper: Join Riverkeeper and the Ossining Documentary and Discussion Series for a screening of Jon Bowermaster’s newest installment of Hudson River at Risk films on anchorages, PCB contamination, and the AIM and Pilgrim Pipeline projects – three major threats to our Hudson River. Panelists include Academic and Activist Zephyr Teachout,  Riverkeeper’s Vice President of Advocacy John Lipscomb, Ossining High School Teacher Artie Carlucci, and Environmental Justice Campaigner Robert Friedman from NRDC.

WHEN: February 10, 2017: 7:00PM to 9:00PM

WHERE: Ossining Public Library, 53 Croton Avenue, Ossining, NY map

Read more.


Scenic Hudson visualization of the anchorages

Creating a 2,400-acre floating industrial storage area for massive barges loaded with millions of gallons of explosive, health-threatening chemicals is a pathway to potential disaster. Tell the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to terminate the U.S. Coast Guard rulemaking and protect the Hudson River from this harmful proposal. Email


Debate over Hudson River’s role dates back decades

Times Union: The current proposal to house crude oil barges at various points along the Hudson River harkens to a time when it was used to park vessels before.

The Hudson River National Defense Fleet was established by Congress in 1946, one of several locations in the nation for storing warships, troop transports and cargo ships left over from World War II. The Hudson River fleet was first located at Tarrytown, then moved north to Jones Point opposite Peekskill. At its peak in 1965, 189 ships were anchored there in 10 rows reaching from near shore well out into the river.

Communities where the ships were anchored along the Hudson acquiesced. The ships were well-maintained, seldom moved and apparently did not leak fuel or oil. The ships were seen as a contribution to having a ready fleet in case of national emergency. Some ships were pressed into service during the Korean and Vietnam wars. Otherwise, the “ghost fleet,” as it was popularly called, led a quiet existence. A few ships were used in the late 1950s and early 1960s to store surplus wheat for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In fact, the fleet became something of a tourist attraction. A New York Times article in June 1963, “Sunday Drive Up the Hudson,” included the anchored ships among what it called “fabulous views.”

Not everyone agreed. Theresa Scozzafava, owner of Barney’s Restaurant at Jones Point, sued in federal court, claiming the ships were anchored on what she called her “front lawn” because she owned out into the river and that they were obstructing her view. The court ruled against her, calling the anchoring of the ships “an exercise of the government’s sovereign power to regulate commerce and navigation.”  Read more.  (Photo: Hudson River Reserve Fleet)


Film Screening and Forum on the anchorages at Upstate Films, Rhinebeck

Scenic Hudson will hold a community forum and screening of three short films your seat at Upstate Films in Rhinebeck.  The screening includes acclaimed filmmaker Jon Bowermaster’s Hudson River at Risk series as well as a new Scenic Hudson 3D video simulation of barge anchorages proposed for the Hudson River. The proposed Hudson River anchorages would increase the risk of spills of volatile crude oil and other hazardous materials, threaten the Hudson Valley’s scenic splendor, and damage irreplaceable aquatic habitats.

Scenic Hudson encourages everyone to join us after the films for a Q&A session with President Ned Sullivan, Director of Environmental Advocacy Hayley Carlock and Director of Public Policy and Special Projects Andy Bicking. They and Jon Bowermaster will discuss the films and the regional threat the anchorages pose to the Hudson Valley. Take collective action against this proposal and prevent the Hudson River from becoming a parking lot for crude oil barges and a super-highway for fossil fuels!

WHEREUpstate Films, 6415 Montgomery Street / Rt.9, Rhinebeck

TICKETS: Free and open to the public. Due to limited space, please RSVP here to reserve a seat:

QUESTIONS? Contact Scenic Hudson Advocacy Associate Rebecca De La Cruz:, 845-473-4440, ext. 139.


Officials Call for Barge Plan in Hudson to be Scrapped

The Hudson Independent: Last month, several elected officials and students from Pace University’s Environmental Policy Clinic called on the U.S. Coast Guard to scrap plans to create 43 new anchorages in 10 locations along the Hudson River after it was revealed the federal agency allegedly violated its own protocol.

At a frigid press conference at Kingsland Point Park in Sleepy Hollow on December 5, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, state senators Terrence Murphy (R/Yorktown), David Carlucci (D/Clarkstown) and Sue Serino (R/Hyde Park), professor John Cronin from Pace University and students from the Pace Environmental Policy Clinic charged the Coast Guard was circumventing its own procedures to benefit the shipping industry with anchorages for oil barges from Yonkers to Kingston.

“This is not about politics. It is about doing the right thing for the people who live in the Hudson Valley,” said Murphy, who also asked the Coast Guard to extend the public comment period beyond December 6. Murphy’s district extends into Sleepy Hollow. Read more.


Protecting the Hudson: Federal-State Partnership or Conflict?

Gotham Gazette: Who is responsible for keeping the Hudson River free from pollution? Actually, it is a responsibility shared by Federal and State authorities. Sometimes they agree; other times, they may be at cross purposes. That can make for some interesting political debate and interplay between the federal and state governments….

A consortium of maritime and oil companies has proposed construction of 10 “anchorages”  along the shores of the Hudson River, from Kingston to Yonkers, to store large barges carrying crude oil south from Albany. The anchorages would include a total of 40 berths, or parking spaces, for the ships. The proposal resulted from a decision by Congress last year ending a ban on export of oil produced in the lower 48 states.

Proponents say that the action by Congress will increase the amount of oil moving by rail to the Port of Albany and then down the Hudson by boat. Their proposal will produce jobs, help lower energy costs, and boost the economy, they say.

Opponents counter that the anchorages are unnecessary and will cause environmental damage to the river.  Read more.


From Barges to “Bombs”: NY DOT considers regulations on oil transport by rail

Highlands Current: Three weeks after the Coast Guard closed public comment on a proposal to add 10 anchorage sites for oil barges on the Hudson River, including a site between Beacon and Newburgh, the U.S. Department of Transportation is asking for feedback on proposed restrictions on trains that carry oil along its shore.

The comment period was scheduled to open Friday, Dec. 30 and continue through Feb. 28.

New York has pushed for stricter regulation of the oil trains, often derided as “bomb trains” because of their potential explosive power. In neighboring Quebec, a 2013 oil-train accident triggered an explosion and fire, killing 47 people and destroying part of a village.

Working through its Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, DOT wants public input as it considers whether to establish limits on the vapor pressure of hazardous fuel shipped by rail. Higher vapor pressures contribute to crude oil’s volatility and flammability.

DOT published its notice in November, nearly a year after New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman petitioned the agency to limit vapor pressure to less than 9 pounds per square inch (PSI). The agency’s announcement specifically referred to Schneiderman’s request but asks only for reaction to setting “a range of vapor pressure thresholds,” not just below 9.

According to the Attorney General’s Office, some types of oil, such as the crude from the Bakken Shale formations in North Dakota, have the highest vapor pressures and thus pose a greater threat than other fuels. It noted the Quebec accident involved a train carrying oil with a PSI above 9. Read more.


NY AG Urges US Coast Guard to Drop Hudson Anchorage Proposal

New York Law Journal: New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is asking federal officials to reject the proposed designation of 10 new anchorage sites in the Hudson River between Albany and New York City for petroleum-laden vessels.

Schneiderman said in a letter to Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson that the U.S. Coast Guard should withdraw its proposal and return, if it can, with a more complete plan that includes a recommendation from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Coast Guard is under control of the department.

Any plan should demonstrate that anchorage berths “would cause no harm to riverbed infrastructure and the aesthetic, environmental, historic and recreational benefits” of the Hudson, Schneiderman said in his Dec. 23 letter.

The Coast Guard received more than 9,000 comments during a six-month public comment period about its proposal. Most of the vessels in question are barges, up to 600 feet long, which carry heating oil, gasoline and other petroleum products.

The Port of Albany has been modified since 2012 to handle crude oil transported by rail from the Bakken fields of North Dakota for transfer by barge to New York City and beyond.  Read more.


New York State AG Voices Concern About Hudson Valley Barge Anchorage Sites

Yonkers Daily Voice: The Westchester County officials protesting to the U.S. Coast Guard’s proposal to create riverfront anchorage sites for bargesalong the Hudson River got a strong supporter this week in the form of New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

This week, Schneiderman requested that U.S. Homeland Security call on the Coast Guard to withdraw their proposal, which includes the installation of 16 anchor berths across 715 acres on the water between Yonkers and Dobbs Ferry.

Since it was announced earlier this year, the Coast Guard’s proposal has been under fire by local officials, who believe it would harm the environment and aesthetics of dozens of communities.

“The Hudson River offers a unique natural beauty, and these communities tout the proximity to it as an enormous economic asset,” Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “These towns have invested millions of dollars to spur economic development along the river under the assumption this beauty would not be infringed upon.

“These anchorages threaten the aesthetic value of the wonderful views the river affords and will obstruct free use of the river for boaters, kayakers, swimmers and others.”  Read more.


Coast Guard’s barge plan faces increased opposition

News 12 Westchester: There’s a new push to stop a proposal by the U.S. Coast Guard to anchor 10 barges along the Hudson River.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is requesting that U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson order the Coast Guard to withdraw its plans.

The Coast Guard wants to establish the anchor sites for 43 vessels in the Hudson from Yonkers to Kingston.

Schneiderman calls the Hudson River a priceless natural resource and says this plan would threaten that.

Watch the video.


Anchorage Site Opponents Appeal To Homeland Security Secretary

WAMC: The debate over whether the U.S. Coast Guard should be allowed to establish anchorage sites on the Hudson River is continuing. Calls to halt a rulemaking process to the anchorages are being directed to the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security. New York’s attorney general and a Poughkeepsie-based environmental group have now sent letters. Meanwhile, Coast Guard personnel are poring over thousands of comments it received on the proposal.

The environmental protection bureau chief from New York Attorney General Eric Schniederman’s office wrote to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson December 23, asking him to instruct the Coast Guard to withdraw the proposal to create up to 10 anchorage sites in the Hudson River to park as many as 43 commercial vessels between Yonkers and Kingston. The letter cites a lack of manifest need for long-term parking for barges containing oil or other materials. The letter also says that it does not appear the Army Corps Chief of Engineers has recommended such a proposal.

In an emailed statement, Schneiderman says, “The Hudson River is one of our state’s greatest natural resources, and we must remain vigilant in protecting it. The proposal to add 43 new anchorage sites along the river doesn’t pass the test. I join the thousands of New Yorkers who have raised serious concerns about the proposal in urging its withdrawal by the Coast Guard.”  Read more.


Battle against anchorages called largest environmental fight in region’s history An environmental leader, who is involved in the fight against placing commercial anchorages in the Hudson River between Yonkers and Kingston, said this battle is believed to be the biggest one in the region’s history of protecting the environment.

John Lipscomb is the vice president for advocacy for the Riverkeeper organization and he said all other environmentalists he has consulted agree this is the largest effort of its kind in Hudson Valley history.

“I am including the famous battle over Storm King and I am including the battle over PCBs against General Electric, nothing has brought out this kind of bipartisan and wide, widespread public response,” Lipscomb said. “There has never been, in the history of the Hudson Valley, an outpouring of concern for the river that even approaches what we just saw.”

When the deadline for public comment ended earlier this month, over 10,000 were submitted and Lipscomb said when you factor in municipal leaders who represent large constituencies, the comments represent 1.5 million.

He said that win or lose this issue will go down in history “as a moment that finally galvanized the entire valley to come out and protect the river.”

The proposal for the anchorages was advanced to the US Coast Guard by the commercial shipping industry, which must consider it.


New York State Attorney General urges Homeland Security to withdraw Hudson anchorage proposal

The office of New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has written a letter to Jeh Charles Johnson, Secretary of Homeland Security, urging the Coast Guard to withdraw the proposal for 43 new anchorages on the Hudson River.

The letter, which comes from the Attorney General’s Environmental Protection Bureau Chief Lemuel M. Srolovic, gives three reasons why the proposal should be withdrawn:

“No one has demonstrated a manifest need for so many new anchorage sites along the river; no one has demonstrated a need for long-term anchorage at any of those specific locations; and we have seen no recommendation supporting these designations from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as required by statute.”

The letter cites several examples of the Hudson River’s aesthetic, environmental, historic, recreational and commercial significance.  It observes, for example, that “the federal government has designated the Hudson River National Historic Landmark District, the southern half of which is located along a stretch of the river where the contemplated Kingston Flats, Port Ewen and Big Rock Point berths would be located.”

Given that thousands of comments were filed with the Coast Guard concerning the ways in which the new anchorages and increased commercial traffic would harm New Yorkers and others, the Attorney General’s letter focuses on how the proposal has failed to fulfill the legal requirements for new anchorages.

Specifically, explains Srolovic, federal regulations grant the authority to establish anchorage berths to the Secretary of Homeland Security, and for the Hudson River that authority has been delegated to the Commander of the First Coast Guard District.

According to the statute (33 U.S.C. § 471), (1) it must be “manifest… that the maritime or commercial interests of the United States require such anchorage grounds for safe navigation,” and (2) “the establishment of such anchorage grounds shall have been recommended by the [U.S. Army Corps] Chief of Engineers.”

According to Srolovic, neither of these two conditions have been met.

The Maritime Association of the Port of New York/New Jersey — the organization that requested the anchorages — claimed that the anchorages were necessary in order to accommodate the “projected growth” in shipping along the river, due at least in part to the lifting of the ban on export of crude oil.

But as Srolovic points out, “no data supporting such projected growth, either in crude oil or any other type of shipment, has been provided.” In fact, the letter goes on to say, “there is at present no basis to anticipate any material growth in oil shipments beyond the 2014 level.”

As for the fact that 42 of the 43 anchorages would be “long term,” Srolovic indicates that his office has learned that this means barges could anchor for up to 30 days. “We are concerned,” he writes, “that such long-term anchorage would essentially allow barges to serve as oil storage facilities on the river.”

Rather than contributing to navigational safety — as the proponents of the proposal claim — such long-term anchorages “would create significant security and hazard risks.”

Finally, writes Srolovic, contrary to the statutory requirement, “it does not appear that the Army Corps Chief of Engineers has recommended these anchorage berths.”

Based on these factors, then, the Attorney General’s office urges the Secretary of Homeland Security “to instruct the Coast Guard to withdraw this proposal in light of the lack of ‘manifest’ need for any new berths.”

The full letter can be found here.

(Photo: Riverkeeper)