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The public opposition to a dramatic increase in anchorage grounds has been an unprecedented outcry for protecting the river: at least 10,000 comments, 34 municipal resolutions and dozens of letters from elected officials to the Coast Guard, filed between June and December 2016. You and your community can continue to speak out. Here’s how:
Call, write or arrange a meeting with your representatives in Congress. All federal elected officials have local offices and staff, and you can and should request meetings with them. Many also hold “town hall” events to update and listen to constituents; you should attend and make your voice heard. Ask them to do everything within their power to oppose the proposal for new anchorages and call for a full environmental review of the proposal.
Help your community take a stand. Ask your municipal leaders – your mayor, supervisor or local council members – to join the Hudson River Waterfront Alliance, a coalition of Hudson Valley municipalities working together in opposition to the proposed anchorages led by the City of Yonkers. Many municipal and county boards have passed resolutions opposing the anchorage proposal. (See here for a list and check whether your community is listed.) Encourage your elected leaders to join the chorus of opposition. Our communities are stronger when we work together in tandem and share resources to protect our river and communities.
Educate your neighbors. Write letters to the editor and op-eds to your local papers expressing your concerns over the anchorage proposal. Share Riverkeeper’s blogs, campaign page, and Facebook posts on your social media feeds, and ask your friends and neighbors to take action. Visit www.riverkeeper.org/anchorages to get informed. In addition, hold a local meeting or forum on the proposal and organize local action through existing or new groups and organizations.
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If the Coast Guard decides to move forward with a formal proposal for new anchorage grounds on the Hudson River, we will be ready.
“There has never been an outpouring of love and caring for the river such as we have seen in this case.” – John Lipscomb, Riverkeeper patrol boat captain
Below is a sample letter circulated by Riverkeeper, followed by a selection of comments filed by individuals.
SAMPLE COMMENT LETTER
Dear Mr. Lapiejko:
I am writing to express my opposition to the proposal to establish new anchorage grounds on the Hudson River. I am especially concerned about the following negative impacts that the proposal could have on the Hudson Valley:
The proposal threatens to re-industrialize the Hudson River. The tug and barge industry requested additional anchorages in part to support an increase in crude oil transport. Forty-two of the forty-three berths are designated as “long-term,” and I am concerned that the Hudson River could become a parking lot for barges transporting crude oil. Increased transport and storage of crude oil leads to an increased risk of a devastating oil spill on the Hudson River.
Anchors and chains scar and disturb the river bottom. The Hudson River is home to endangered species – Atlantic and shortnose sturgeon – that rely on the river bottom to spawn, feed, and rest. Sturgeon were here first, and I want to know whether the proposed anchorage grounds will be detrimental to their survival.
Barges emit air, noise, and light pollution. It is important to me that the Coast Guard thoroughly investigates exactly how these types of pollution will affect riverfront communities and aquatic ecosystems before deciding whether to proceed with the proposal.
The proposal will have significant impacts on local communities. Communities all along the Hudson River have made significant investments in their local waterfronts. I am worried that increased vessel traffic and spoiled views could undermine local waterfront revitalization efforts that are meant to improve local economies and the quality of life in the Hudson Valley.
If the Coast Guard decides to move forward with the proposal, it must undergo comprehensive environmental review, including a full environmental impact statement.
See what your Hudson Valley neighbors are saying. Here are some of the messages recently sent to the Coast Guard.
“Great strides have been made in recent years to clean up the Hudson River, please let’s keep it this way. Before allowing potentially hazardous oil barges to anchor here, please produce a full Environmental Impact Statement.”
“My wife and I have lived in Hastings on Hudson for 32 years. Our waterfront has always been an issue that was yet to be resolved. Slowly with Superfund monies some buildings were cleared. Others are yet to be but slowly and surely it finally looks like we might get our waterfront back. We are not a large riverfront community. Our waterfront is probably small compared to neighboring towns. The proposed anchorage will set back everything. All those 32 years, and counting, that we’ve waited be for naught! Why on earth would you allow commercial interests to supersede the interests of so many communities who line the Hudson river. There must be a better solution because this one doesn’t work! Thank you”
Danny & Judy Michael
“The citizens of the Hudson Valley have worked long and hard to clean up this majestic river and keep it safe for all who use it. We know that it is a hardworking channel as well as a beautiful one and we all must share. But muscling ( quite secretly) in on this haven as this barge project is doing is not about sharing but about taking the river back to the bad old days of overbearing commercial disregard for the needs of humans and nature. Figure out some other solution and include input from all!”
“Please conduct a full environmental impact statement.
Please do not allow any new berths in the Hudson River.
Please remember that crude oil cannot be cleaned up in a moving river. Crude oil is poison for life.”
“I am writing to ask you to please insist on a full Environmental Impact Statement regarding these 43 new berths.
Thank you for your time. I know that members of the Coast Guard love and respect the river more then anyone. Thank you.”