“New York Law Journal: AG Urges US Coast Guard to Drop Hudson Anchorage Proposal”
January 3, 2017
As published by the New York Law Journal on December 28, 2016.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is asking federal officials to reject the proposed designation of 10 new anchorage sites in the Hudson River between Albany and New York City for petroleum-laden vessels.
Schneiderman said in a letter to Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson that the U.S. Coast Guard should withdraw its proposal and return, if it can, with a more complete plan that includes a recommendation from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Coast Guard is under control of the department.
Any plan should demonstrate that anchorage berths “would cause no harm to riverbed infrastructure and the aesthetic, environmental, historic and recreational benefits” of the Hudson, Schneiderman said in his Dec. 23 letter.
The Coast Guard received more than 9,000 comments during a six-month public comment period about its proposal. Most of the vessels in question are barges, up to 600 feet long, which carry heating oil, gasoline and other petroleum products.
The Port of Albany has been modified since 2012 to handle crude oil transported by rail from the Bakken fields of North Dakota for transfer by barge to New York City and beyond.
The Coast Guard’s public comment period ended Dec. 6. It said it will take several months reviewing the materials it received before announcing the next step in the rule-making process (NYLJ, Dec. 14).
Environmental groups and several prominent public officials in communities along the Hudson River have criticized the proposal, as have top officials in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration.
The proposal was requested by the Tug & Barge Committee of the Port of New York and New Jersey, the Hudson River Pilots Association and the American Waterways Operators.