Ann Gallelli: Communities Unite to Block the Barges!

To the Editor,
As part of my continuing interest in, and opposition to, the barge anchorage proposal for the Hudson River, last week I attended a meeting organized by the Historic Hudson River Towns (HHRT) at which such opposition was the subject. Croton has joined with other municipalities along the Hudson from Kingston to Yonkers in opposing the proposal under consideration by the U.S. Coast Guard to establish 10 new anchorages with 43 barge berths.
The HHRT meeting was focused on how the fight against the proposal might best be waged. One thing was clear: that there are multiple existing federal and state laws which are meant to ensure the long-term environmental viability of the Hudson River. These include the federal and state Coastal Zone regulations as well as National Environmental Review Act (NEPA) and State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) regulations.
To make a case against the proposal, those municipalities with existing Local Waterfront Revitalization Plans (LWRP) and Comprehensive Plans have the ability to make the strongest cases. Croton has had an LWRP in place since 1992. I was member of the committee that drafted it. However, few of the other Hudson River municipalities have adopted one. Many are in the process of drafting them and getting approvals but don’t have adopted plans. What this means is that Croton can play a significant role in the fight against the anchorage proposal.
We know from our past successful fight against the Millennium Pipeline, in which I was also a participant, Croton’s LWRP was the decisive factor in the final decision. The power of having an LWRP cannot be underestimated. While fortunately there are many parties opposed to the proposal, we know the federal and state governments have substantial leverage in these matters, sometimes providing exemptions. This is where the power of having a plan already approved under these same regulations can prove very useful in the fight.

Ann Gallelli

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