September 7th, 2016
US Coast Guard Proposed Rulemaking for Hudson River Anchorage Grounds
The U.S. Coast Guard is considering an industry proposal to add 10 anchorage grounds in the Hudson River between Yonkers and Albany, which would provide 43 berths for commercial vessels, including tugs and barges. A primary reason cited for the new anchorages is to support the significant growth over the next few years in the transportation of crude oil on the river (particularly the highly volatile Bakken crude) anticipated by the industry. It is important that the voices of river communities be heard by the Coast Guard by September 7, 2016.
The industry proposal for the anchorages was made in a January 21, 2016 letter to the Coast Guard from the Tug and Barge Committee of the Maritime Association of the Port of New York/New Jersey. This letter followed on the heels of the December 18, 2015 lifting of the 40-year ban on American crude oil exports, and the letter cites the end of that ban as a key driver of anticipated growth in river traffic.
After decades of efforts and expenditures by Hudson River communities and allied organizations to clean and restore the health of the river, the threats posed by the growth in oil transportation facilitated by these anchorages should concern all of us who value the natural resources and beauty of the river. Of particular concern in the Hudson Highlands is the proposed anchorage ground between Newburgh and Beacon (adjacent to Denning’s Point) identified as high priority by the Maritime Association letter. The proposed Newburgh Anchorage Ground can be visualized on page 13 of their letter:
It is still early in the rule-making process and comments from river communities can be very influential on how this process evolves. In particular, it is important that the Coast Guard requires a full and complete environmental review before moving ahead with any plans.
We encourage residents to express their concerns about the proposed addition of anchorage grounds and the need for a full and complete environmental review, by sending their comments to the U.S. Coast Guard by September 7, 2016 via the following link and clicking the “Comment Now” button in the top right corner: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=USCG-2016-0132-0001
Michelle D. Smith
Hudson Highlands Land Trust