Hear­ing on an­chor­age pro­posal draws large crowd but no one from Coast Guard

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - LOCAL NEWS - Mid-Hud­son News Net­work

The mu­nic­i­pal build­ing in this Westch­ester County com­mu­nity was packed Wed­nes­day with pub­lic of­fi­cials and res­i­dents with strong opin­ions about a ship­ping in­dus­try pro­posal for the U.S. Coast Guard to cre­ate an­chor­age grounds for large com­mer­cial ves­sels at 10 sites on the Hud­son River be­tween Yonkers and Kingston.

State Sens. Ter­rence Mur­phy, David Car­lucci and Su­san Serino chaired the lengthy ses­sion, and Car­lucci noted a sig­nif­i­cant ab­sence.

“It re­ally boils my blood that the Coast Guard is not here tonight, at a Se­nate hear­ing, to an­swer th­ese im­por­tant ques­tions,” Car­lucci said. “That’s the big prob­lem here. There’s no trans­parency on this is­sue.”

Westch­ester County Ex­ec­u­tive Robert As­torino said he was “dum­founded” that out of more than 2 mil­lion fed­eral em­ploy­ees, not one could make it to Cro­ton.

A pa­rade of mu­nic­i­pal of­fi­cials spoke, in­clud­ing Yonkers Com­mon Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Liam McLaugh­lin, who said he feared “endto-end” barge traf­fic.

“The pro­posed rule is sim­ply ir­rec­on­cil­able with the adopted Hud­son River Val­ley Na­tional Her­itage Area Man­age­ment Plan ap­proved by the U.S. sec­re­tary of the in­te­rior, which pro­vides a per­ti­nent park for the recog­ni­tion, in­ter­pre­ta­tion and, most im­por­tantly, the preser­va­tion of sites along the Hud­son River,” McLaugh­lin said.

Dutchess County Com­mis­sioner of De­vel­op­ment and Plan­ning Eion Wrafter said seven of the an­chor­age sites would be on the Dutchess stretch of the river.

In lengthy tes­ti­mony, Scenic Hud­son’s Ned Sul­li­van said the pro­posal would be a dis­as­ter, mak­ing the Hud­son River a “su­per­high­way for fos­sil fuel.”

“The Hud­son River is our re­gion’s most im­por­tant nat­u­ral as­set,” Sul­li­van said. “It’s vi­tal to the en­vi­ron­ment, to the pub­lic health and a pow­er­ful en­gine for the econ­omy and job cre­ation.”

The long­est time on the witness stand, about half an hour, was taken by a de­fender of the an­chor­age pro­posal.

“Mis­in­for­ma­tion” was how Ed­ward Kelly, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Mar­itime As­so­ci­a­tion of the Port of New York and New Jer­sey, char­ac­ter­ized the ar­gu­ments of op­po­nents.

“We’d like to talk about how th­ese an­chor­ages would en­hance the safety, se­cu­rity and en­vi­ron­men­tal stew­ard­ship of the ves­sels and the water­ways in which they op­er­ate,” Kelly said. “An­chor­ages are good for safety. That’s what this is all about. A safe place to an­chor is essen­tial to the safety of the crew, the ves­sels, other op­er­a­tors’ prop­erty and car­gos, as well as the health of the river en­vi­ron­ment it­self.”

Mur­phy thanked Kelly and the Mar­itime As­so­ci­a­tion for do­ing what the Coast Guard did not do: show up. Even the au­di­ence, for the most part staunchly op­posed to an­chor­ages, ap­plauded.

The Coast Guard re­port­edly plans to hold its own hear­ing some­time next spring, but the of­fi­cial pub­lic com­ment pe­riod closes in De­cem­ber.

Among the 10 pro­posed an­chor­age sites are:

• A Kingston Flats South An­chor­age Ground, which would cover about 280

acres for up to three ves­sels.

• A Port Ewen an­chor­age ground, which would cover about 50 acres for one ves­sel.

• A Big Rock Point an­chor­age ground, which would cover about 210

acres for up to four ves­sels.

• A Rose­ton an­chor­age ground, which would cover about 305 acres for up to three ves­sels.

• A Mil­ton an­chor­age ground, which would cover about 75 acres for up to two ves­sels.

• A Marl­boro an­chor­age ground, which would cover about 155 acres for up to three ves­sels.

TA­NIA BARRICKLO — DAILY FREE­MAN FILE

A long barge passes the Eso­pus Mead­ows Lighthouse on the Hud­son River be­tween Ul­ster and Dutchess coun­ties.

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