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Coast Guard Kills Plan To Park Barges Along Hudson River

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney questions Rear Admiral Paul Thomas about Proposed Hudson Valley Anchorage sites.
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney questions Rear Admiral Paul Thomas about Proposed Hudson Valley Anchorage sites. Video Credit: Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney
Congressman Eliot Engel co-sponsored the legislation that would make it illegal to create barge anchorage sites in the Hudson River. Photo Credit: Contributed
Peekskill Legislator John Testa has been at the forefront of efforts to spurn the Coast Guard's barge anchorage proposal. Photo Credit: Contributed

After more than a year, the Coast Guard has agreed to kill a proposal that would have seen barge anchor berths placed along the Hudson River.

According to Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, on Tuesday, “after more than a year of tireless efforts to defeat a plan for additional anchorages,” the Coast Guard agreed to pull the deal off the table, announcing they would “suspend future rulemaking decisions.”

Maloney called the decision a victory for the Hudson Valley.

“I am glad the Coast Guard has come around to our way of thinking,” he said. “This is a victory that the Hudson Valley won together – from the 10,000 residents who submitted comments to the bipartisan coalition of elected officials across all levels of government who came together with one voice to protest this terrible idea. Our river is a national treasure that should be preserved and protected for generations – not turned into a parking lot for commercial oil ships.”

Earlier this year, bi-partisan Hudson Valley officials came together at the Yonkers waterfront to announce additional legislation that would stop the U.S. Coast Guard’s proposal that includes the installation of 16 anchor berths across 715 acres on the water between Yonkers and Dobbs Ferry.

Last year, the Westchester County Board of Legislators unanimously passed a resolution opposing the Coast Guard’s plan. The resolution was proposed by Minority Leader John Testa and reviewed by the Board of Legislation’s Infrastructure Committee.

“Westchester is the first county to pass a resolution against the plan, and I hope other counties along the Hudson River follow our lead,” Testa said in a statement. “The resolution should send a strong message to the Coast Guard and federal government that both Republicans and Democrats on the Westchester County Board of Legislators stand in opposition to the proposal to park barges laden with oil up and down the Hudson River just off the waterfronts of our communities.”

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman also praised the Coast Guard's move.

"The Hudson River is one of our greatest resources and we have a fundamental responsibility to protect it," Schneiderman said. "As I've long argued, the anchorage proposal simply didn't pass the test. I'm glad the Coast Guard now agrees -- proving that when a community speaks out, our voices can make a difference."

In March, Congressmen Maloney and Eliot Engel announced the new legislation to ban the barges. The legislation would make it illegal to create such anchorage sites within five miles of superfund sites, a nuclear power station, a site on the National Register of Historic Places, near endangered species or other “critical areas.”

“When it comes to anchorages, my message is simple,” Maloney said at the time. “We don’t want them, we don’t need them and working together, we’re going to kill this proposal. This has not been a partisan issue in the Hudson Valley. You’ve seen Republicans and Democrats working together on this.

“My legislation would make it illegal for the Department of Homeland Security and the Coast Guard to site these types of anchorage sites within five miles of certain critical areas. In other words, the exact types of locations we have in the Hudson River and the reasons why you wouldn’t want to have additional anchorage sites.”

“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 added. “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.”

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