Tuesday, August 8, 2017

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Lawmakers say threat to Hudson River continues without Cuomo signature


Serino (podium) other elected officials and environmentalists called on the governor to sign the bill

POUGHKEEPSIE – State Senator Susan Serino (R, Hyde Park) and Assemblywoman Didi Barrett (D, Hudson) gathered local officials and community advocates in Poughkeepsie on Monday to urge Governor Cuomo to sign into law legislation that was passed that would prohibit barges from anchoring on the river in the Hudson Valley. 

The original proposal by the US Coast Guard would allow for 10 new anchorage sites between Kingston and Yonkers. A total of 43 barges would be allowed to drop anchor and 42 of them would be allowed to stay for 30 days. The plan was met with fierce opposition from Riverkeeper, Scenic Hudson, and upwards of 10,000 comments from the public directed to the Coast Guard in opposition.

Serino and Barrett pushed legislation through their respective houses prohibiting the anchorage sites. The bill now awaits the governor's signature. 

Jurisdiction of the river is shared by the federal and state governments and, according to Scenic Hudson, if the bill is signed into law quickly, the Coast Guard cannot change it.  According to Serino, this legislation is vital to the communities she represents that get their drinking water from the Hudson River.

“I understand that there are 400 bills in front of the governor, but this needs to be done,” Serino said. “The Hudson Valley is very important to all of us.”

Barrett stressed the importance of the bill and the need for the governor to act quickly saying that the guidelines for petroleum vessel traffic that the bill gives the DEC will be of critical importance should any future proposals for anchorages be advanced by the federal government.

“The use of it for transport of fossil fuels and crude oil, the exploitation by having these anchorage sites would destroy everything that we love and that we care about in our community and this is important for New York State to step up and codify the role that it can play to protect our community, protect our habitat and protect our wildlife,” Barrett said.

Deputy County Executive Ronald Hicks spoke on behalf of Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro and Sheriff Butch Anderson, saying the countywide leaders are urging the governor to act quickly for reasons including the security and Safety of the population as well as to protect the tourism economy that relies heavily on the Hudson River. 

 


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