MONTROSE, NY - For the past month, a movement led by Senator Terrence Murphy has been gathering steam, surging through the Hudson Valley. Senator Murphy has drawn attention to an outlandish proposal supported by the United Sates Coast Guard to anchor dozens of barges on the Hudson River. Thus far the public's resounding disapproval of the proposal has been louder than an oil tanker's blaring whistle.
Earlier today, Senator Murphy and a bipartisan group of officials gathered to voice their continued opposition to the Coast Guard's proposal. Senator Murphy announced that he and fellow Senator Sue Serino will host a public hearing focusing on the Hudson River barge issue on Wednesday, October 19th at 7:00 PM at the Croton Village Hall.
In July, after the first "No Barges" press conference, Senator Murphy created an online petition where residents could sign up and add their voice. Since then, more than 1,600 concerned residents have signed the petition.
"A month ago, we brought to light the fact that bureaucrats in Washington were proposing to make the Hudson River a parking lot for barges. Since then, we have been seeking information and transparency on this issue and to date we have not received any answers," Senator Terrence Murphy said. "There is information that the public should have heard from the beginning. The Coast Guard has said they will hold hearings in the spring. We should not have to wait that long. The public deserves to know about the dangers behind this issue."
"I'm here today because we have a duty and an obligation to better understand this proposal and that starts with hearing from all interested parties and stakeholders," Senator Sue Serino said. "Senator Murphy and I will be holding a public hearing because members of the communities that may be impacted by the anchorage proposal, as well as those with vested interest in safe passage along the Hudson, have the right to make their voices heard so that we can help inform the Coast Guard's process and ensure that the economic and environmental health of our communities remains a top priority."
Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino stated, "The good news is we won the first round. The people of the Hudson Valley spoke loudly and put enough pressure on the government that they extended the period for the public to make comments. People need to know that the proposed anchorages are not just adding a few barges between Yonkers and Kingston. Each anchorage is a mooring where multiple commercial vessels can drop anchor. So one proposed anchorage in Yonkers could mean sixteen vessels floating between the New York City line and Hastings with vessels that stretch out halfway across the river."
Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said, "The New York legislature is holding hearings regarding issues that impact the health and safety of people upstate. At the same time the government is making a proposal that will have an impact on the Hudson River without informing the people that live near it. We have a problem with the process. Government is not supposed to make decisions in a vacuum. The Hudson River isn't our backyard, it's our front porch, and barges are not invited."
"The City of Yonkers has garnered national acclaim for the work we have done in revitalizing our waterfront," added Yonkers City Council President Liam McLaughlin. "National developers are seeking out our waterfront and in doing so they have been bringing jobs, economic development and clean up to what was once a polluted area. This issue is very important to what is going on in Yonkers and the entire river. We do not want to take a step backward. What is going to happen is warehousing - turning a national treasure into a storage space for private companies. That should not happen."
Also present at the press conference were Westchester County Legislators John G. Testa, Francis Corcoran and David Tubiolo, Cortlandt Town Supervisor Linda Puglisi, Mount Pleasant Town Supervisor Carl Fulgenzi, Peekskill Mayor Frank Catalina, Buchannan Mayor Theresa Knickbocker, Village of Croton Mayor Dr. Greg Schmidt and Trustee Ann Gallelli.
Thanks to the public's interest, the Coast Guard has extended the original public comment deadline. Residents may express their opposition and register public comment by signing Senator Murphy's petition, located here.