Following an impassioned plea from Hudson Valley officials and environmental organizations, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed a bill into law that will protect the Hudson River from barges carrying fracked oil.
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.
Officials came together in unison last year, with the Westchester County Board of Legislators unanimously passing 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 June, a bill was sent to Cuomo for his approval regarding the anchorage berths, which was signed into law on Tuesday. The legislation expands New York State’s jurisdiction over the siting of oil barges on the Hudson River by enabling the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to create “Tanker Avoidance Zones” based on the presence of significant habitats and the concerns of waterfront communities.
According to officials with Food & Water Watch, the groups "fears that the additional oil barge traffic would reverse decades of Hudson clean-up, and squander millions of dollars already spent revitalizing the waterfront. More oil barges on the river increases the risk for hazardous oil spills, threatens New Yorkers’ drinking water, and could damage the habitat of the endangered sturgeon and other species. Barges also produce significant noise and light pollution due to generators and stadium-like lighting on deck, disturbing communities along the waterfront."
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