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Astorino Voices Concerns Over Yonkers Riverfront Barge Parking

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino applauded the extension of the deadline for written comment on the Riverfront barge anchorages. Photo Credit: Contributed
Peekskill Legislator John Testa was one of several members of a bi-partisan alliance speaking out against Hudson River barge anchorage points. Photo Credit: Contributed
Officials are teaming in resistance of a proposal to park as many as 16 barges in the Hudson River along the riverfront. Photo Credit: Scenic Hudson
The proposed changes to the shipping lines. Photo Credit: Ban The Barges

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino and Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro  joined the growing list of local officials to speak out about a proposed Hudson River barge anchorage proposal that would allow the massive ships to park along several Hudson River communities.

Among the 10 spots in Westchester are Yonkers, Montrose and Verplank.

On Wednesday, Astorino joined State Sen. Terrence Murphy of Northern Westchester and Putnam and other local leaders, including Dutchess State Sen. Sue Serino along the shores of the Hudson River to announce that the deadline for written comments or concerns about the plan - which would allow for 600-foot barges to anchor off the shore of several Westchester County communities - has been extended three months.

Originally, the deadline was Wednesday, Sept. 8, but following public backlash, the Coast Guard extended that date until Tuesday, Dec. 6.

If the proposal was approved, it would include 16 anchor berths for barges to stop and park across 715 acres on the water between Yonkers and the Dobbs Ferry Train Station.

“In the language of the proposal, ‘long-term’ is defined as 30 or more days. That’s not stopping by, that’s moving in,” Astorino said. “It’s classic federal-government vagueness: today’s ’30 or more’ could be tomorrow’s in perpetuity.”

Murphy, who has also spearheaded a petition against the anchorage points, also announced that he will host multiple public forums in the coming months to allow the community to express their opinions on the Coast Guard’s proposal.

“Our communities have invested too much in the revitalization of the river to allow all our progress to be undone,” he stated. “Having unmanned, unlit barges parked on the river creates the potential for navigational, environmental and homeland security hazards that will be detrimental to the ecological health of the river and wildlife, as well as the economic health of our tourism and fishing industries.”

Board of Legislators Minority Leader John Testa noted that moving forward, it will be essential to maintain the complete transparency that helped them get the initial extension.

“By bringing transparency to the project and informing the general public, we were able to force an extension of the public comment period,” he said. “We will continue to stand together as Republicans and Democrats from local village councils to the halls of the New York State Senate in Albany to stop this irresponsible and unfair encroachment on our re-claimed waterfronts and our environment.” 

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