Maloney, Larkin, Skoufis & Neuhaus Call for Environmental Impact Study, Additional Public Hearings on Potential Oil Barges on Hudson River
Newburgh, NY — Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18), State Senator Bill Larkin, Assemblyman James Skoufis, County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus, and local stakeholders called on the United States Coast Guard to hold additional public hearings and conduct an environmental impact study before expanding mooring infrastructure on the Hudson River. In addition, Rep. Maloney announced he sent a letter to the United States Coast Guard expressing environmental and public safety concerns, urging more public hearings and a thorough environmental impact study before the Coast Guard makes their decision.
“My neighbors deserve to have their voices heard on issues that impact our environment, economy and public safety – especially when it comes to dangerous oil barges docked in their backyard. The Coast Guard must conduct an environmental impact study and hold public hearings as soon as possible before building new anchorages – and making our beautiful waterfronts and scenic Hudson River a parking lot for large oil ships,” said Rep. Maloney.
"Since the mid 1990’s, New York State has spent millions of dollars to clean up and expand access to the Hudson River. As a result, countless recreational establishments and restaurants have sprouted up along the banks of the scenic Hudson. The new proposal to add additional anchorage grounds would be a massive step backward for our region, undermining our tourism industry and causing harm to our quality of life,” said Senator Bill Larkin.
"The Coast Guard's hasty proposal threatens the environment, recreation, and quality of life in our community, plain and simple," said Assemblyman James Skoufis. "That's why I stand alongside Congressman Maloney and my colleagues in state government who are calling for significantly more scrutiny of the project. The Hudson River is one of our region's greatest assets and we ought to treat it as such.”
“Newburgh’s waterfront and the rest of our Hudson River communities provide some of the best scenery in New York. Before allowing the mooring of large ships with little to no benefit to Orange County, we need to thoroughly investigate the potential impact on our scenic views, public safety and environment. I appreciate Congressman Maloney’s call for additional public hearings on this issue, which is a matter of public concern to residents who live, work near and enjoy the beautiful Hudson River,” said Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus.
“This living river is healing, and we need to take great care to understand if our actions today — like re-industrialization of the Hudson —is going to damage that important goal," said Riverkeeper President Paul Gallay. "The anchorages proposal is not about safety. It's about the oil. Industry itself has said that these anchorages are 'key to supporting trade' in oil exports. Accidents around the country have shown us that crude oil cannot be recovered if it is spilled. And crude oil is poison for life in the river.”
“Scenic Hudson has helped to preserve the Hudson Valley’s scenic and natural resources, and our municipalities have worked to revitalize their priceless riverfronts. While it is important that the commercial vessels and their crews on the Hudson River have designated areas to rest or wait out storms and fog, if these new anchorages turn the Hudson River into a storage warehouse for barges filled with crude oil, it will undo all of our hard work. Scenic Hudson is concerned that once again, the Hudson Valley and its residents face unacceptable risk while receiving little or no benefit, and we call on the Coast Guard to hold public meetings on this proposal and take a hard look at its environmental and economic impacts before deciding to move forward,” said Audrey Friedrichsen, Land Use and Environmental Advocacy Attorney at Scenic Hudson.
Earlier this year, the Coast Guard announced it was considering establishing new anchorage grounds in the Hudson River, between Yonkers and Kingston. The proposed locations include Newburgh, Marlboro, Montrose, Yonkers, Tompkins, Milton, Roseton, Big Rock Point, Port Ewen and Kingston. These new anchorage grounds would range from 21 to 65 feet and would accommodate commercial vessels, including oil barges, tugs, tows and pushboats.
The full text of the letter is available below:
August 18, 2016
Admiral Paul F. Zukunft
Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard
2703 Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE
Washington, DC 20020
Dear Admiral Zukunft:
I write in regards to the Coast Guard’s solicitation for comments on the proposal to establish new anchorage grounds in the Hudson River between Yonkers, NY and Kingston, NY. I have significant concerns about the potential impacts of an expansion of mooring infrastructure on the Hudson River. Therefore, before moving forward with any proposal, the Coast Guard must convene public hearings and conduct a thorough environmental impact study. It’s essential that local stakeholders be engaged in this process and that their concerns be heard and addressed.
The Hudson Valley is an extraordinary place – made so in large part because of the stunning environmental and ecological beauty of the region. Not only does a significant increase in docking capacity and the potential of an environmentally hazardous oil spill put that at risk, but added moorings could adversely impact the local small businesses that rely on tourism and sightseeing. In addition, housing a large number of oil barges along the Hudson raises important safety concerns that must be considered and addressed without delay.
I appreciate all that the Coast Guard does to protect the American people. But before moving forward with any decision on mooring sites along the Hudson River, I hope that it takes the time to listen to folks in the Hudson Valley. Public safety and environmental concerns must be at the forefront of this decision making process. Thank you for your service and I look forward to working with you on this important issue.
Sean Patrick Maloney
Member of Congress