By Robert Kimmel—
Legislation passed by the House of Representatives has moved the goal of keeping the lower Hudson River free of oil vessel anchorages a major step closer.
Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney’s persistent efforts to have such a law approved has met with success. With bipartisan support, the House passed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2021 which includes such a ban. The law drew bipartisan votes, and now heads to the Senate for approval.
“This is a victory for the Hudson Valley,” Maloney said following the bill’s passage. “The placement of massive oil-tanker parking stations along our riverfronts would lead to increased river traffic, the degradation of our efforts to enhance the space for economic and environmental purposes, and create a sitting environmental disaster waiting to happen.”
The congressman said he was proud the bill passed through the House “with broad, bipartisan support, and that he “looked forward to this provision passing the Senate, and I urge the President to sign it. We are gatekeepers of the Hudson River, and it’s up to us to be good stewards of the river so New Yorkers can enjoy it for generations to come.”
As Chairman of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee, Maloney authored the provision banning the anchorages.
Maloney, who represents New York’s 18th Congressional District, had been at the forefront of efforts by local communities, the state and environmental groups to halt a proposal originally put forth several years ago by the Coast Guard to have 10 sites established on the Hudson River, from Yonkers up to Kingston, where oil could be stored. Several maritime groups had proposed such anchorage in order to increase the shipping and storage of oil along the river.
That plan was shelved when local governments and eco-friendly organizations strongly opposed it. An earlier law prohibiting such anchorage was passed by the House in 2019, also pushed by Maloney, but fell short of full enactment to totally curb such moves.
Among the plaudits from local officials for the newly House passed law, Westchester County Executive George Latimer called it, “A major step forward for the continued fight for a clean Hudson River. The placement of massive oil-tanker parking stations along our riverfronts would lead to increased river traffic, the degradation of our efforts to enhance the space for economic and environmental purposes, and create a sitting environmental disaster waiting to happen.”
“I want to thank Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney for his tireless work on this front. Because of his action, the threat of this environmental hazard may be no more. I look forward to following the bill’s continued progress,” Latimer added.
New York State moved in 2017 to limit the locations where vessels loaded with petroleum could navigate on the Hudson River when Governor Cuomo signed legislation giving the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation the authority to control such activities.