Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano Demands U.S. Coast Guard to Reconsider Exclusion of Local Municipal Stakeholders in Rulemaking Process of Proposed Hudson River Barge Anchorages
YONKERS, NY – November 2, 2017 – Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano today announced that the City of Yonkers, on behalf of the Hudson River Waterfront Alliance (HRWA), is requesting the U.S. Guard (USCG) reconsider its exclusion of the local municipal stakeholders at the upcoming Hudson River Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment (PAWSA) workshops on November 7-8th and 15th. The PAWSA process is an opportunity for stakeholders, such as Yonkers and the HRWA, to identify safety hazards, evaluate potential mitigation measures and their impacts concerning the proposal to add 43 new barge anchorages along the Hudson River. Earlier this year, Yonkers and HWRA submitted a request to participate in the workshop but were excluded from the list of invited participants.
“I am very concerned over the lack of inclusion of municipal leaders representing hundreds of thousands of residents of Hudson River waterfront communities, as well as the lack of transparency by the U.S. Coast Guard in their selection of the workshops’ participants,” said Mayor Spano. “It is especially concerning considering that these PAWSA workshops could result in a recommendation for establishing additional barge anchorages on the Hudson River based on the decisions of those selected to participate.”
On October 18th, the U.S. Coast Guard confirmed that all participants and observers for the upcoming workshops had been selected. Upon further investigating, it was learned that of the 45 participants selected, only three local municipal officials representing a town, village or city were invited to participate -- Hasting on Hudson, Tarrytown and Croton on Hudson. The USCG also noted that the full list of invited participants and observers to the workshops would not be available for review by the public until a post-PAWSA workshop report is published.
In a letter sent this week to the Rear Admiral of the First Coast Guard District, Mayor Spanostated, “Excluding representatives of local riverfront communities as well as maritime experts, and prohibiting access to the list of invited participants to the PAWSA workshops, undermines the entire PAWSA process and puts into question the motive and integrity of the USCG in conducting a comprehensive, balanced and transparent assessment of risks on the Hudson. The people of our communities deserve direct local representation in any public process such as this in which the outcome could impact their local natural resources and quality of life.”
The Alliance seeks to participate in the PAWSA as its members have substantial investment in and protection of waterfront development, the Hudson Valley’s economic vitality as well as interest in safe recreational and related maritime uses of the Hudson River. The Alliance members and consultants have expertise in these subjects as well as navigational safety, coastal zone management, and waterfront planning in Hudson Valley waterfront communities.
In 2016, Mayor Spano convened elected leaders from the Westchester County communities to create the Hudson River Waterfront Alliance to collectively stand in opposition to the U.S. Coast Guard’s proposal of 43 new anchorages along the Hudson River.
The Alliance consists of elected leaders from 33 Hudson Valley municipalities and counties united in promoting maritime safety, protection of the Hudson River, sustainable waterfronts, and coastal zone management. Previously, the Alliance provided extensive technical and legal comments on the potential establishment of 43 new anchorages in the Hudson River, as set forth in the 2016 Advanced Noticed of Proposed Rulemaking. HRWA was successful in initially suspending the anchorages proposal after 10,000 public comments in opposition were submitted to the Coast Guard. Now, it requests its collective voices be heard at these upcoming maritime workshops that can potentially affect future traffic and infrastructure on the River.
The Hudson River Waterfront Alliance launched the “Ban the Barges” social media advocacy campaign on Facebook (facebook.com/banthebarges) and Twitter (@banthebarges) including a change.org petition (www.yonkersny.gov/bargepetition) urging the U.S. Coast Guard to abandon the anchorage plan.
The Hudson River Waterfront Alliance includes:
Village of Briarcliff Manor
Village of Bronxville
City of Peekskill
Village of Tuckahoe
Town of Mount Pleasant
Town of New Castle
For more information on the Hudson River Waterfront Alliance, visit www.yonkersny.gov/banthebarges.