Assemblymember Barrett Passes Legislation to Combat Hudson River Anchorages

Legislation safeguarding the Hudson River and surrounding communities passes Assembly

Assemblymember Didi Barrett (D, Columbia-Dutchess) announced legislation she sponsored to fight the Hudson River anchorages passed the Assembly A.6825-A. The US Coast Guard’s anchorage proposal has been met with widespread opposition from the residents, environmental groups and waterfront municipalities and this bill will further safeguard the river and local communities against the increased risks associated with the transport of crude oil and other hazardous materials. The bill is sponsored by Senator Sue Serino in the Senate.

“With this vote we moved one step closer to a victory for the river and those who love it, live and work along it,” said Assemblymember Didi Barrett. “The proposed anchorages seriously threaten drinking water, natural resources, local businesses, historic viewsheds, the vibrant tourist industry and the safety of communities on both sides of the river. This legislation strengthens New York State’s authority to protect the health and well-being of the entire Hudson River Valley.”

“Our communities have worked far too hard for far too long on revitalizing our waterfront to risk compromising the Hudson River and this bill is an important step forward in ensuring that the state is doing all that it can to exercise its jurisdiction to better protect the river and the communities that depend on it," said Senator Sue Serino. “I am thankful for the work of the advocates, especially Scenic Hudson, who has played an essential role in the legislative process. I am working tirelessly to ensure that members of the Senate understand the critical importance of the bill and hopeful that it will pass in the Senate before the session concludes.”

In June of last year, the U.S. Coast Guard issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking to establish 10 new anchorage grounds along the Hudson River covering a 91-mile stretch between Kingston, Ulster County and Yonkers in Westchester County. The new grounds would allow up to 43 vessels to anchor in the area, 42 of which could anchor for up to 30 days at a time. The bill seeks to safeguard the Hudson River by bolstering the state’s ability to exercise its jurisdiction over the river. Specifically, it amends the state’s navigation law relating to the establishment of ‘tanker-avoidance zones’ to consider waterfront communities and significant natural habitats, in addition to navigation safety. The result is that the state will be in a stronger position to prevent anchorages from being sited at points that pose a clear and direct threat to the environment, quality of life and local economic development goals.

Leading environmental advocacy organization, Scenic Hudson—which played a critical role in drafting the legislation—stated that new anchorage points are not necessary to improve travel safety along the Hudson as vessels already have permission to anchor when conditions are hazardous for navigation.

"The Hudson River and its waterfront communities have endured through generations of neglect, but now are moving forward with a positive vision of community renewal and economic development based on the integrity of the region's natural resources," said Andy Bicking, Director of Public Policy for Scenic Hudson. "The passage of this bill in the Assembly, and hopefully the Senate, will build upon the state's existing authority to establish tanker avoidance zones in the Hudson River and ensure that these local and regional goals are met without interfering with existing commerce. We commend Assemblymember Didi Barrett and Senator Sue Serino for their bipartisan leadership on this legislation that has responded to the interests and concerns of municipalities, environmental and community groups, and private industry. Scenic Hudson respectfully calls on the Senate to make passage of this important bill a top priority,"

"The Assembly has delivered for the Hudson by passing legislation that will protect the river and waterfront communities from massive expansion of crude oil shipments through new barge anchorages,” said Jeremy Cherson, Campaign Advocacy Coordinator for Riverkeeper. “Given the unprecedented public outcry to the proposed re-industrialization of the river, we urge State Senate leadership to pass the bill.”