Ban The Barges Protect Our Hudson
Elected leaders among Westchester County's Hudson River Waterfront Communities have launched "Ban the Barges", an advocacy campaign opposing a proposal by the Maritime Association of the Port of New York and New Jersey and the American Waterways Operators to establish 10 or more new barge anchorage sites on the Hudson River from Yonkers stretching up 70 miles to Kingston.
Recently, Congress ended a 40-year ban on the export of most crude oil produced in the lower 48 states, now resulting in oil production nearly doubling to more than nine million barrels a day. This has led to the need for expansion of the existing barges and rail line channels for transport of these fuel products.
The Yonkers Extension Anchorage Ground would cover approximately 715 acres for up to 16 vessels and provide a vessel swing radius of approximately 1,200 feet for each vessel. Current anchorages in the Hudson River in Yonkers can already accommodate up to nine vessels. The Montrose Point Anchorage Ground would cover approximately 127 acres for up to three vessels and provide a vessel swing radius of approximately 1,400 feet for each vessel. This proposal will effectively result in continuous, end-to-end barge traffic or “parking” from the Westchester border straight into Dobby Ferry, with additional parking directly in front of the Indian Point nuclear power facility.
The Hudson River Waterfront Communities raise serious concerns about the economic, environmental and public safety impacts of this proposal.
First, many of the river towns in Westchester County are in the midst of a long-term effort to revitalize its waterfront; restore and enhance its parks; and replace closed industrial facilities with new mixed-use residential, commercial and recreational developments. Recreation revitalization plans include multiple marinas and mooring areas, in order to meet the demands of the burgeoning recreational boating community.
Second, the Hudson River Waterfront Communities are deeply concerned with the water, noise and light pollution which would result from the routine operation of these barges, as well as the potential for catastrophic environmental impacts of crude leaks into the Hudson. The Hudson River Waterfront Communities cite the gross inadvisability of this proposal following decades of tireless effort and the dedication of extraordinary resources to restore the environmental vitality of the Hudson River estuary.
Public health and safety are also of great concern as the proposed anchorages would turn the Hudson River into a parking lot for potentially volatile substances and could potentially become targets for acts of terror. The Hudson River Waterfront Communities have significant questions as to the role and jurisdiction of local municipalities, in terms of both emergency services response, and managing basic enforcement concerns.
The shores of the Hudson River should be a place where our residents and visitors can gather to live, work and play. As such, the Hudson River Waterfront Communities will undoubtedly be opposing this proposal and is asking residents, business leaders, community organizers and others to act on our behalf in preserving our beautiful waterfront.
Please join our fight to Ban the Barges and Protect Our Hudson.
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