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Bill To Ban Barges In Hudson Valley Awaiting Cuomo's Approval

Peekskill Legislator John Testa has been at the forefront of efforts to spurn the Coast Guard's barge anchorage proposal. Photo Credit: Contributed
Congressman Eliot Engel co-sponsored the legislation that would make it illegal to create barge anchorage sites in the Hudson River. Photo Credit: Contributed

A bill to prevent the creation of anchorage sites in the Hudson River has passed the New York State Assembly and Senate, and will now head to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desk before it can be signed into law.

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.”

In March, Congressmen Sean Patrick 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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