The Westchester County officials protesting to the U.S. Coast Guard’s proposal to create riverfront anchorage sites for barges along the Hudson River got a strong supporter this week in the form of New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
This week, Schneiderman requested that U.S. Homeland Security call on the Coast Guard to withdraw their proposal, which includes the installation of 16 anchor berths across 715 acres on the water between Yonkers and Dobbs Ferry.
Since it was announced earlier this year, the Coast Guard’s proposal has been under fire by local officials, who believe it would harm the environment and aesthetics of dozens of communities.
“The Hudson River offers a unique natural beauty, and these communities tout the proximity to it as an enormous economic asset,” Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “These towns have invested millions of dollars to spur economic development along the river under the assumption this beauty would not be infringed upon.
“These anchorages threaten the aesthetic value of the wonderful views the river affords and will obstruct free use of the river for boaters, kayakers, swimmers and others.”
In September, the Westchester County Board of Legislators passed a resolution in opposition of the proposal, led by Minority Legislation Leader John Testa.
“Westchester is the first county to pass a resolution against the plan, and I hope other counties along the Hudson River follow our lead,” he said in a statement. “The resolution should send a strong message to the Coast Guard and federal government that both Republicans and Democrats on the Westchester County Board of Legislators stand in opposition to the proposal to park barges laden with oil up and down he Hudson River just off the waterfronts of our communities.”
The Harvard Environmental Policy Clinic has claimed that the proposal violates the Coast Guard’s policy procedures. According to the Clinic, “the Coast Guard is required to expressly seek input from relevant community stakeholders and undergo critical safety and environmental studies before publishing their Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register.
“To date, there has been no evidence to indicate that the Coast Guard followed through on these established procedures.”
“To find out (the Coast Guard) have even gone so far as to violate their own established protocol in putting the proposal forward is not only frustrating, it’s incredibly disappointing,” New York State Sen. Sue Serino added. “I join my colleagues to call on the Coast Guard to finally scrap their current plan and urge them to begin to work alongside our local communities to find solutions to improve river safety without negatively impacting the economy, the environment or the quality of life of the communities along the Hudson.”