The United States Coast Guard issued its Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment (PAWSA) Report for the Hudson River yesterday. Notably, it did not include a plan to add additional anchorages, places for ships to anchor, along any part of the Hudson River, making this the latest victory in our campaign to protect the river from further industrialization.
The PAWSA process was initiated following Coast Guard’s announcement in 2016 that it was reviewing a proposal to expand the number of anchorage grounds in the Hudson River. After receiving over 10,000 public comments from people throughout the Hudson Valley, mostly in opposition to the plan, the Coast Guard withdrew their review pending further analysis, including a PAWSA.
Besides significant potential disruption to the Hudson estuary from increasing ship traffic, especially in areas inhabited by native and endangered species (including the shortnose and Atlantic sturgeon), the proposal could have led to increased oil transport on the river, leaving the River vulnerable to dangerous oil spills.
In their report, the Coast Guard makes three main recommendations to enhance safety on the river. These include: (1) the establishment of a Hudson River Safety Committee, (2) increased recreational boater safety information, and (3) a clarification of current regulations on the river. These recommendations will enhance safety on the river for all who depend on it, whether for recreational or commercial use, and will provide further clarity on outdated and ambiguous regulations, inclusive of regulations on anchorages.
This past November, NRDC joined fellow environmental advocates, industry representatives, recreational and commercial boaters and other concerned citizens as a stakeholder in the PAWSA process.
While the PAWSA process did not include plans to add new anchorages, the fight is not over. We thank the Coast Guard for hosting such an open and transparent stakeholder engagement process thus far, and we look forward to future opportunities to promote a safe, oil barge-free Hudson River.