Scenic Hudson Commends NY Attorney General for Asking U.S. Homeland Security Secretary to Halt Anchorages Plan

Tuesday, December 27, 2016 -- Scenic Hudson
Contact: 

Ned Sullivan, President
914 489 4630
nsullivan@scenichudson.org

Letter says “oil storage facilities” would damage “Priceless Natural Resource”

HUDSON VALLEY—Scenic Hudson praised the office of New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for requesting that U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson order the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) to withdraw plans for establishing 10 new anchorages for 43 commercial vessels along the Hudson River. This follows a similar request Scenic Hudson made to Secretary Johnson on November 21.

The December 23 letter sent to Secretary Johnson by Lemuel Srolovic, chief of the Attorney General’s Environmental Protection Bureau, calls the Hudson River “a Priceless Natural Resource” and goes on to cite the many threats new anchorages could pose to historic, ecological, scenic and recreational assets. Mr. Srolovic notes that these threats could be exacerbated because barges would be allowed to moor for up to 30 days, in effect turning the anchorages into “oil storage facilities on the river.” Such facilities, the letter states, “would be contrary to the statutory requirement, as it is unrelated to ‘safe navigation,’ and would create significant security and hazard risks.”

The letter also enumerates the “fundamental problems” with the anchorages proposal: “first, the lack of factual support for the contemplated designation of so many new berths; second, the lack of foundation for use of these potential sites for long-term anchorage; and third, the apparent lack of the legally required recommendation to establish these sites from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.”

“We urge you to instruct the Coast Guard to withdraw this proposal in light of the lack of ‘manifest’ need for any new berths—let alone 43 of them,” the letter concludes.

“Scenic Hudson commends the Attorney General for joining us in asking Secretary Johnson to terminate immediately this plan to turn the Hudson River into a parking lot for barges filled with crude oil and other hazardous chemicals. The Coast Guard has yet to demonstrate any need for new anchorages based on navigational safety. The proposal instead is more likely intended to allow oil companies to time the shipment of their product to market to maximize profit. That’s no reason to endanger riverfront communities, irreplaceable habitats, drinking water supplies and world-class scenic treasures that sustain the Hudson Valley’s $5.2-billion tourism economy,” said Scenic Hudson President Ned Sullivan.

Public urged to support Scenic Hudson’s call to halt proposal

During the public comment period that concluded on December 6, the USCG received more than 10,000 comments, with the majority coming from federal, state and local officials; environmental and business groups; and citizens voicing strong opposition to the anchorages. Scenic Hudson now is urging the public to contact Secretary Johnson and support calls for him to halt the plan before leaving office in January. To email: public.engagement@dhs.gov

Mr. Srolovic’s letter to Secretary Johnson is online here

Mr. Sullivan’s letter to Secretary Johnson is online here.

About Scenic Hudson

Scenic Hudson works to protect and restore the Hudson River and its majestic landscape as an irreplaceable national treasure and a vital resource for residents and visitors. A crusader for the valley since 1963, we are credited with saving fabled Storm King Mountain from a destructive industrial project and launching the modern grass-roots environmental movement. Today with more than 25,000 ardent supporters, we are the largest environmental group focused on the Hudson River Valley. Our team of experts combines land acquisition, support for agriculture, citizen-based advocacy and sophisticated planning tools to create environmentally healthy communities, champion smart economic growth, open up riverfronts to the public and preserve the valley’s inspiring beauty and natural resources. To date Scenic Hudson has created or enhanced more than 65 parks, preserves and historic sites up and down the Hudson River and conserved almost 40,000 acres.

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