Coast Guard backtracks on recent directive
After issuing a bulletin that appeared to invalidate a 2021 law that prohibited the establishment of new anchorages in the Hudson River north of New York City, the Coast Guard has reversed its reversal — for now.
The Coast Guard’s latest bulletin, issued this week, suspended one it issued over the summer that changed where barges can park on the Hudson River.
In its latest bulletin, the Coast Guard wrote: “As part of the development of any new rules or regulations affecting the Hudson River, the Coast Guard will engage the public via notice and comment and continue direct liaison with all stakeholders through an open, transparent process.
“The Coast Guard is aware of the public’s concerns regarding anchoring on the Hudson River and intends to issue a Notice of Inquiry in the Federal Register and undertake extensive public outreach opportunities to explore potential regulatory updates and limited access areas on the Hudson River.”
No timetable was announced.
“We won this initial victory because our community stood up and fought together,” said Rep. Pat Ryan, whose district includes Beacon, in a statement. “But unfortunately, we know this success is temporary. Now is the time for all of us to double down on our commitment to stop big corporations from turning our Hudson River into a parking lot for dangerous barges.”
In the meantime, Ryan is continuing to collect public comments on his own at patryan.house.gov/hudson-river-barge.
The issue came to the forefront in 2015, when the Coast Guard issued a bulletin saying no barge could anchor in the waters of the Port of New York outside previously designated anchorage grounds, which included only one north of Yonkers, at Hyde Park.
The next year, the Tug & Barge Committee of the Port of New York and New Jersey asked for more anchorages, citing an anticipated boom in the oil market because of the lifting of a federal ban on crude exports. In response, the Coast Guard came up with a plan for 10 new anchorages between Yonkers and Kingston, including in the river between Beacon and Newburgh.
After pushback, the Coast Guard suspended the proposal, and in 2021 Congress passed a ban that seemingly put an end to the matter. But over the summer the Coast Guard said its 2015 declaration was too expansive because Port of New York waters only extend north from Battery Park to the Mario Cuomo Bridge near Tarrytown.
Ryan asked for clarification. He pointed out that the change could mean that the 2021 Congressional ban of new anchorage grounds would not apply north of Tarrytown.
Two months later, the Coast Guard confirmed that to be the case, and announced that any barge could legally anchor anywhere north of Tarrytown for as long as it wanted if it had proper stadium-style lighting and space to turn around.