The U.S. Coast Guard plan to allow new Hudson River commercial anchorage areas between Yonkers and Kingston, including Tomkins Cove, disregards the decades-long battle to restore the historic river and transform it from a backdoor to the front door of numerous communities, say three Rockland County legislators.
The issue will be the focus of discussion at 5:30 p.m. Thursday when the Rockland County Legislature’s Environmental Committee meets. A resolution formally opposing the proposed new sites is on the agenda, proposed by Legislators Harriet Cornell, the Committee’s Chairwoman; Legislature Chairman Alden H. Wolfe and the Legislature’s Vice Chairman, Jay Hood Jr.
All three legislators submitted public comment and a letter to the Coast Guard last month opposing the proposed new anchorages.
“There is a significant threat to public safety from Bakken crude oil transported by barge and parked along our coastal villages,” said Cornell (D-West Nyack), whose Legislative District includes the Hudson waterfront villages of Nyack and Upper Nyack. “This proposal will not only adversely affect the ecology of the Hudson River and the quality of life of the waterfront communities along the proposed route, but it will also destroy the natural beauty of this historic landmark,” she said.
The Coast Guard proposal would allow 43 berths for commercial barges plus their associated tug, tow or push boats at 10 locations totaling more than 2,400 acres. The largest, at Yonkers, would allow up to 16 vessels on about 715 acres. The Tomkins Cove site would allow up to three vessels on about 98 acres. Long term storage would be allowed at all sites, and at least some of the barges could carry crude oil.
“Why would we risk storing massive amounts of crude oil on the Hudson River,” said Wolfe (D-Montebello). ‘We have spent decades trying to clean this river up, trying to remove toxic pollutants and to restore the habitat that supported plants, fish and wildlife along this beautiful waterway. Allowing these anchorages would be a step backwards and would hinder the very work that our state Department of Environmental Conservation has been focused on.”
Hood (D-Haverstraw), whose legislative district includes the Hudson riverfront villages of Haverstraw and West Haverstraw, said allowing the anchorages would simply ignore the tremendous amount of work local communities have engaged in when it comes to restoring the river and relationships with it.
“New restaurants have opened and local marinas have renovated to accommodate the hundreds of new tourists and visitors,” Hood said. “This past summer alone, the hot temperatures encouraged hundreds of boaters to travel the Hudson, dock at local marinas for food, supplies and entertainment, and to admire the beautiful, scenic views of the river. The proposed anchorage sites threaten all of that with serious concerns about boating safety, increased noise, and pollution that could harm the economic vitality of our river communities.”
The Environmental Committee meets at 11 New Hempstead Road in New City.