Nyack News and Views: Before the 20th century, the Hudson River was its region’s principle highway of commerce. Sleek sloops, schooners and steam-towed barges picked up and dropped off factory goods, textiles, vegetables, ice, lumber, bricks, oysters, whiskey, tools, seeds — everything to stock the general stores of villages and growing cities.
Today, tugboats shove cargo barges up and downriver, most carrying refined heating oil, gasoline, or crushed stone. They’ve been joined lately by more (and larger) oil tankers and barges. They carry crude oil from North Dakota via the Port of Albany, then south to East Coast ports and refineries.The 8-million gallon oil tanker Afrodite brings North Dakota Bakken crude down the Hudson to Canada’s largest oil refinery in New Brunswick.
The sailing ships of yesteryear were a crucial link in local trade, but today’s crude oil tankers and barges bring very little besides a few jobs, and nothing to enrich the lives of Hudson Valley residents.
Now, shipping industry representatives have asked the Coast Guard to establish new anchorage fields for tugs, tankers and barges in the Hudson, from Yonkers to Kingston. The outcry against the proposed anchorages from environmental watchdog groups, elected officials, and citizens has been fierce.
Here are the basic questions and answers behind the headlines. Read more.