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Maloney, Engel, Spano Announce Federal Steps to Stop Coast Guard Proposal for Anchorages on the Hudson River

Mar 6, 2017
Press Release
Bill Would Halt Dangerous Barge Proposal on the Hudson River

Yonkers, NY – Representatives Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) and Eliot Engel (NY-16), and City of Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano announced federal legislation that would halt proposals by the United States Coast Guard to expand mooring infrastructure on the Hudson River between Kingston and Yonkers. Rep. Maloney’s Hudson River Protection Act, would prohibit the Secretary of Homeland Security, and by extension the United States Coast Guard, from establishing new anchorage sites for vessels carrying hazardous or flammable material within five miles of an existing superfund site, nuclear power plant, site on the national register of historic places, or a critical habitat of an endangered species. While there are a wide range of sites in the Hudson Valley on the national register of historic places and critical habitats of endangered species, the superfund requirement alone covers the entire section of the Hudson River that the Coast Guard wants to designate as anchorage sites. Rep. Engel is an original co-sponsor of the legislation.

“The Coast Guard’s proposal to install new anchorage sites on the Hudson is a bad idea and I will do whatever I can to stop it,” said Rep. Maloney. “We don’t need more anchorage sites, we don’t want them – it is too dangerous and too harmful to the Hudson River, which we are still trying to clean up – the last thing we need is for the river to become a parking lot for hazardous oil tankers.”

“We cannot allow New York to be dumped on by this proposal from the Coast Guard. The Yonkers and Hastings waterfronts which I represent have undergone incredible revitalization in recent years. But this proposal, in addition to offering some very serious environmental concerns, could imperil the great strides that our local communities have made in improving their economic development on the coastline. We will continue to fight this matter tooth and nail at both the federal and local levels,” said Rep. Engel.

“The proposal put forth by the Coast Guard and maritime industry certainly will reindustrialize the beautiful, natural gem that is our Hudson River and undermine the progress we’ve all made on our waterfronts,” said Mayor Spano. “Thank you to Representatives Maloney and Engel for proposing this much-needed legislation and for supporting our communities. I look forward to continue working with them until we are successful.”

The Coast Guard has announced advanced notice of a proposed rulemaking which, if conducted, could result in the construction of ten new anchorage sites along the Hudson River for large commercial ships travelling from up-river to the port of New York. The anchorage sites would provide these ships a location to drop anchor before continuing on to the port.  Rep. Maloney has repeatedly called for a comprehensive environmental impact study and additional hearings before the proposal can advance, and sent his own letter to the Coast Guard on August 18. In August, Reps. Maloney and Engel, along with Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, and Rep. Lowey, sent a letter to the Coast Guard requesting a 90-day extension to provide the public time to learn about the proposal and to offer comments. Following this letter, the Coast Guard announced it was extending the public comment period to December 6th. In September, Maloney questioned Coast Guard officials and secured a commitment to an open and transparent process, including public hearings.

On September 15th, Rep. Maloney asked Hudson Valley residents to contact his office directly to provide comments in regards to the proposal to install ten new anchorage sites on the Hudson River from Yonkers to Kingston. In December, Rep. Maloney submitted 404 comments from local residents to the U.S. Coast Guard.