Ann Gallelli: Ban the barges.

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To the editor,
Last week I attended a meeting organized by Assemblywoman Sandy Galef regarding the proposal to designate additional anchorages in the Hudson River for barges moving between Albany and New York. Ms. Galef had invited two representatives from the Maritime industry and the barge owners and operators to attend the meeting. Representatives from other municipalities were there as well from Riverkeeper, Historic Hudson River Towns (HHRT), and the Sierra Club.
While the industry representatives provided some new information about how existing and proposed cables in the river are affecting them, overall what I came away with was disturbing. The representatives were adamant that their request was totally about physical barge safety irrespective of the product being transported, which they admitted is mainly crude oil. They were tone deaf on why people would be concerned about what is on the barges.
More significantly to me, was a clearer understanding from them that barge traffic is increasing on the Hudson River, that most of what is transported is oil, and that there are really no external controls on the barge industry limiting the number of boats that may be on the river at any time. As more oil is exported out of New York Harbor, increasing barge traffic on the River will be needed to support it. There appears to be no controlling agency that limits the amount of such traffic, only the influence of supply and demand.
Safety is the concern of all parties on or adjacent to the river, not just barge operators. It is one thing if a barge loaded with sugar has an accident, but quite another if it is loaded with oil. It is not possible to separate the shipping method from the product being shipped when considering the proposed new anchorages.
The Coast Guard has extended the comment period for 90 days. Please submit your comments on line to http://regulations.gov and enter USCG-2016-0132 on the home page.
Ann Gallelli

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Ann Gallelli: Tell the USCG to “Deep Six” Hudson River Oil Barge Proposal

Ann Gallelli 8-18-2016 FB LTE Image.pngTo the Editor,
Is the Hudson River going to become a floating oil storage facility and floating fuel pipeline?

Recently, and unexpectedly, Hudson River municipalities became aware that the United States Coast Guard is considering a proposal to add 10 commercial/industrial barge anchorage locations in the Hudson River between Yonkers and Kingston. These would accommodate 43 barges.

Closest to us are proposed anchorages in the Hudson off Montrose and by Tompkins Cove Others are off Yonkers and Dobbs Ferry.

The Village Board passed a resolution of objection to the proposal at its last meeting. To the extent that our Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) can help influence the outcome we should do what we can to influence the NYS Dept. of State which administers the Coastal Zone Act and its policies.

The purpose of the industry-proposed anchorages is to provide “waiting space” for barges along the river as they move to deliver and pickup cargos. Much of this cargo is the volatile Bakken oil from North Dakota being exported to overseas customers.
Beyond the obvious scenic and aesthetic impacts, other impacts could be severe. The anchorages would be adjacent to the main shipping channel increasing the potential for collisions and fuel spills. Recreational boaters in the Hudson River would be forced around these sites into the busy main channels or into the shallower water closer to shore creating safety issues for them. Unmanned and unlit fuel-loaded barges could be navigational and security hazards. This is not an exhaustive list of potential problems but it highlights the problems which need to be studied.

For everyone and every “River town” that has worked hard to restore the Hudson and reclaim our riverfront, this is a slap in the face.

As my colleague Trustee Brian Pugh wrote last week, the Coast Guard is only accepting comments until Sept. 7. Submit your comments athttp://www.regulations.gov using the USCG-2016-0132 docket number at the site.

Ann Gallelli

Brian Pugh: Community Action to Protect Our River

8-11-2016 FB LTE (BP)

To The Editor,

The US Coast Guard proposes that sites in the Hudson River from Yonkers to Kingston serve as “anchorage grounds,” what have been described as “parking lots” for commercial ships, as reported in last week’s Gazette.  As a river community, Croton is particularly affected by this proposal.

Riverkeeper, the nonprofit environmental watchdog, has expressed concerns about the impact of the anchorage grounds with regards to:  the danger presented by crude oil to the river; “scarring” of the riverbed habitat by anchors and anchor chains; and noise and light pollution.

On the basis of public safety and aesthetics, the Town of Cortlandt has passed a resolution of opposition to the plan and has requested a public hearing on the issue.

Residents still have time to make their voices heard. The federal government is currently taking comments on the anchorage plan at regulations.gov (Docket ID: USCG-2016-0132).  Comments are due September 7, 2016.

Sincerely,

Brian Pugh