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Riverkeeper requests participation in Coast Guard’s Hudson River safety review

On July 21, Riverkeeper sent a letter requesting to participate in the U.S. Coast Guard’s Hudson River Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment (PAWSA). The PAWSA process is, as the name states, a risk assessment of current conditions on the Hudson River.

Our letter to the Coast Guard states:

“Our combined on- and off-water expertise puts us in the unique position to bridge the divisions between advocate, scientific monitor, waterway user, and stakeholder. Riverkeeper is the region’s premier environmental organization dedicated to clean water advocacy, with more than 50 years of experience working on environmental issues related to the Hudson River. As a member-supported organization that engages with a broad constituency of citizens, communities, and partners, Riverkeeper is a respected voice for thousands in the Hudson Valley who are interested in protecting and restoring the Hudson River. Furthermore, through the work of the Riverkeeper Boat Program, headed by Vice President for Advocacy John Lipscomb, we have a deep understanding of navigational issues and concerns on the Hudson River.”

Click here to read the entire letter.

We all want a safe river. Riverkeeper looks forward to a respectful discussion about safety concerns of all parties – the maritime industry, riverfront communities, recreational boaters, and – importantly – the aquatic life that depends on the river. And we’re confident that any legitimate safety issues can be addressed without actions that harm the river, and without the need for a drastic increase in anchorages, as requested by industry.

Between June and December of last year, the Coast Guard received 10,212 comments in response to the now-suspended proposal to establish 10 new anchorage grounds, with 43 berths covering over 2.400 acres in the Hudson River. Almost all of those comments were opposed. (Click here for a detailed summary.) We appreciate that the Coast Guard took the initial step of providing an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking on the industry’s request, and we’re glad that the Coast Guard extended the original comment period by three months, which gave the public an opportunity to make its voice heard loud and clear.

As the Coast Guard has noted, the enormous outpouring of public opposition to the anchorages led to the suspension of the proposal and the initiation of the PAWSA process.

The agency has shown its willingness to listen, and we look forward to the next discussion.

Read more:

Fact sheet: Coast Guard ‘PAWSA’ process for the Hudson River

Riverkeeper responds to Coast Guard announcement, ‘will not relax our vigilance in the least’

Riverkeeper information page: Hudson River Anchorages

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