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Westchester Legislators Pass Resolution Against Riverfront Barge Parking

Sound Shore 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
Peekskill Legislator John Testa has been at the forefront of efforts to spurn the Coast Guard's barge anchorage proposal. Photo Credit: Contributed

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - The Westchester County Board of Legislators passed a resolution in opposition of the Coast Guard’s proposal to create anchorage sites for barges that will affect several Westchester communities along the Hudson River.

On Monday night, the Board unanimously passed the resolution opposing the Coast Guard’s plan, which would include the installation of 16 anchor berths across 715 acres on the water between Yonkers and the Dobbs Ferry Train Station.

The resolution was proposed by Minority Legislation 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,” he 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 he Hudson River just off the waterfronts of our communities.”

The Board becomes the latest group of elected officials to stand in opposition of the plan, joining Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, state Sen. Terrence Murphy of Yorktown, Dutchess Sen. Sue Serino of Hyde Park and state Sen. George Latimer of Rye among others.

“My greatest concern at this time is the environmental impact of the proposed anchorages,” Latimer said. “Those areas appear to come in contact or potentially affect the breeding grounds for birds and fish, municipal water sources, aviary flyways and recreational areas.”

According to Legislator MaryJane Shimsky of Hastings-on-Hudson, chair of the Infrastructure Committee who reviewed the resolution before it passed, the Coast Guard’s proposal threatens countless Westchester County communities on various levels.

“This issue does not follow the stereotypical ‘economy versus environment’ script,” Shimsky said. “The vastly expanded anchorage sites, and the highly volatile cargo that would be parked in the barges using them, will endanger the billions of dollars of public and private sector investments that have transformed our Hudson River waterfronts from industrial wasteland to vibrant collections of housing, recreational facilities, restaurants, shops and other commercial enterprises.

“The economic, environmental, and public safety risks these sites would impose on our Hudson River communities are simply too great to let the proposed new Coast Guard rule stand.”

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