Public Hears Testimony About Coast Guard's Controversial Plan to Create Ten Commercial Barge Anchorages from Yonkers to Kingston
CROTON-ON-HUDSON, NY - For the past several months, a group of concerned local officials headed by Senator Terrence Murphy has been fighting against the United State's Coast Guard's controversial proposal to create ten new anchorages along the Hudson River. Senator Murphy has made his opinion clear - the proposed anchorage rule "Doesn't hold water." Wednesday, it wass time for the public to voice their opinion. Senator Murphy, Senator Sue Serino and Senator David Carlucci sponsored a public hearing at the Croton-on-Hudson Town Hall and over a hundred concerned residents attended. "The Coast Guard's proposal raises concerns on many levels. There is a safety concern. Should unmanned tankers be docked near Indian Point?" asked Senator Murphy. "These proposed anchorages also increase the chances for oil spills. Many towns along the Hudson have spent millions of dollars in revitalizing their waterfronts. And needless to say, the presence of unattended barges filled with oil poses a security risk." "Our communities--the ones that may be directly impacted by this proposal--deserve an opportunity to make their voices heard and that is what this hearing is all about," said Senator Serino. "By bringing together a diverse group of local leaders, environmental advocates, Hudson River pilots and concerned citizens, we are ensuring transparency in a process that thus far seems to be without answers and we are ensuring that the U.S. Coast Guard has a clear and accurate picture of the ways in which their proposal may impact our region. We are giving the people of our community what they deserve, now it is up to the U.S. Coast Guard to make sure that each and every comment is taken into serious consideration as they move forward." "The purpose of this hearing is to gather the information that should have been shared from the beginning," said Senator David Carlucci. "The Hudson River is one of the most cherished natural resources in the Hudson Valley. It is clear we need answers to the questions surrounding the proposal for our river." Among the speakers and organizations who attended were: Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro's Office, Emily Majer, Deputy Mayor, Village of Tivoli; Paul Gallay, President, Riverkeeper; Ned Sullivan, President, Scenic Hudson,; Edward Kelly, Executive Director, Maritime Association of Port of New York and New Jersey; Betsey Garthwaite, Chairman of the Board, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater; Joe Cronin, Pace Environmental Law School, and members of the Yonkers City Council, the Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce, and the Hudson River Boat and Yacht Club Association. The anchorage proposal would allow commercial ships travelling the Hudson to drop anchor near Yonkers, Montrose and Stony Point, as well as seven other locations north to Kingston.
If the Coast Guard's proposal is approved, more than 2,000 acres of the estuary will be taken over and used as anchorage grounds. Towns such as Sleepy Hollow, Montrose, Verplanck and Peekskill would be at the epicenter of any disaster along the river. New York State has also invested significant money and resources to restore the Hudson River Estuary. Adding barges to an already active waterway will undoubtedly increase the probability of a natural disaster. A prime example is a maritime accident that occurred on December, 2012 when the 600-foot oil tanker Stena Primorsk, loaded with 11.7 millions of light crude oil, ran aground 10 miles south of the Port of Albany, putting a 13-foot hole in its hull. The ship's inner hull was not damaged, but the accident clearly demonstrated the potential hazards associated with navigating the river while transporting crude oil.