A proposal to establish new anchorage grounds along the Hudson River from Yonkers to Kingston is currently under consideration by the Coast Guard as a means to improve safety and efficiency for massive barges traveling up the river. Presently, the Coast Guard is crowd-sourcing information from both elected officials and the public “to assist in determining the best way forward,” according to the aforementioned proposal. That means you still have an opportunity to comment on the issue and make your stance known. And to get you keyed in on the controversial topic, here’s some basic information:
graphic courtesy of the Coast Guardâ€‹
- The plan is to create 10 new anchorage sites along the Hudson River, making more than 40 berths, or “parking spaces,” available for barges.
- Due to a recently ended ban on the export of oil produced in the U.S., oil production has nearly doubled, instigating the call for more barge berths but also instilling fear in local residents and officials that there will be an uptick in oil transported along the Hudson.
- In Westchester, a 715-acre anchorage ground with room for up to 16 vessels is being considered for Yonkers, and a 127-acre site with room for three vessels in Montrose.
- In the greater Hudson Valley, anchorage sites are being proposed for Tomkins Cove, Newburgh, Marlboro, Milton, Roseton, Big Rock Point, Port Ewen, and Kingston.
- According to the NYTimes, the proposal originated from two private maritime organizations, the Maritime Association of the Port of New York and New Jersey, and the American Waterways Operators, both of which were concerned about congested routes and the safety of barge operators.
- Lohud reports these organizations believe the current number of anchorage sites is not adequate to support the volume of goods transported up the Hudson River each year.
- Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano has commented on the matter, saying that the creation of these sites will undo the progress of public and private investments that have assisted in turning the Yonkers riverfront into an appealing local attraction.
- The non-profit advocacy group Riverkeeper argues that these anchorages could cause lasting damage to the Hudson River, including noise and light pollution, “scarring” of the river bottom, and increased risk of oil spills.
- Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro made remarks that these would-be anchorage sites are an unwanted intrusion, and Ulster County Executive Michael Hein has called the project “disgraceful,” according to the Daily Freeman. On the same note, Marlboro Town Supervisor Al Lanzetta wrote a letter to the Daily Freeman explaining that their Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan is dependent on access to the Hudson River, which may be impeded by commercial water traffic.
- Edward Kelly, executive director of the Maritime Association of the Port of New York/New Jersey, does not believe the proposal represents much of a change, arguing that barges have been anchoring at these locations for a long time to wait out inclement weather.
The discussion surrounding the anchorage site is admittedly very difficult to navigate, but the consequences of the proposal will undoubtedly affect residents of Westchester and the Hudson Valley regardless of the result. Because of this, the Coast Guard has provided an open forum for you to share your comments, staying open until Sept. 7, and public hearings will soon follow. To see where other locals stand on the issue, you can read their comments here. And we will continue following this story and gathering feedback from those on both sides as it develops.