With pressure mounting as unrest built in Rivertowns communities, the Coast Guard is extending the public comment period for the much-maligned Hudson River barge anchorage proposal.
Last month, Hudson Valley officials and organizations teamed up to form the Hudson River Waterfront Alliance, which is protesting a proposal from the Coast Guard that would allow for barges to anchor off of the shore of several communities.
Originally, members in the community were able to submit written comments or concerns to the Coast Guard online by Wednesday, Sept. 7. That period has now been extended until Tuesday, Dec. 6.
Earlier this year, the Coast Guard issued a proposal to establish new anchorage grounds in the Hudson River from Yonkers to Kingston in an effort to improve navigation safety along an extended portion of the area, which currently has no grounds for barges as large as 600-feet to park.
If the proposal is approved, it would include 16 anchor berths for barges to stop and park across 715 acres on the water between Yonkers and the Dobbs Ferry Train Station.
As a result, led by Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano, the Hudson River Waterfront Alliance called on their constituents to “Ban the Barges and Protect Our Hudson.”
“This proposition is strictly a financially-driven agenda without concern for the quality of the life of the river communities,” he said.
On Thursday, Spano celebrated the group’s “small victory,” and reminded residents to continue sending their written comments to the Coast Guard.
“On Aug. 23, I personally wrote to Craig Lapiejko at the United States Coast Guard requesting that the public comment period for the proposed extension of the proposed Hudson River anchorage grounds,” he said. “Our voices are being heard and they are making a difference.”
Additionally, Sen. Terrence Murphy started a petition that has gained rapid support from the community urging all parties involved to turn down the proposal.
“Our communities have invested too much in the revitalization of the river to allow all our progress to be undone,” he added. “Having unmanned, unlit barges parked on the river creates the potential for navigational, environmental and homeland security hazards that will be detrimental to the ecological health of the river and wildlife, as well as the economic health of our tourism and fishing industries.”