Coast Guard closes comment period for proposed Hudson River anchorages

The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(NEW YORK) — The comment period on the advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) titled "Anchorage Grounds, Hudson River; Yonkers, N.Y., to Kingston, N.Y., (81 FR 37168)" concluded Tuesday.

The Coast Guard is considering establishing new anchorage grounds in the Hudson River from Yonkers to Kingston, N.Y., to serve as safe resting points for commercial vessel crews transiting the river.

Under title 33 Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) 109.5, Coast Guard district commanders are delegated the authority to establish anchorage grounds. The anticipated users of the proposed anchorage grounds are commercial vessels and their attending tug, tow or pushboats.

The Coast Guard is considering this action after receiving requests suggesting anchorage grounds may improve navigation safety along an extended portion of the Hudson River, allowing a safer, more environmentally sound flow of vessel traffic. The river currently has no anchorage points. The Coast Guard sought public and stakeholder comments, as well as information about the operational need and possible concerns regarding 10 potential anchorage sites on the Hudson River, from June 17 to Dec. 6, including a 90-day extension that went into effect Sept. 7. The Coast Guard is committed to publicly informed decision-making when considering new anchorage grounds and what form possible regulations should take.

During the six-month comment period, the docket received more than 9,200 comments from many diverse stakeholders. The Coast Guard will now spend the next several months conducting a review and analysis of the comments and supporting materials, before determining how to proceed.

“We appreciate the time and insight provided during this comment period,” said Capt. E.J. Marohn, chief of external affairs for the 1st Coast Guard District. “We received comments from governmental representatives, recreational boaters, concerned citizens, landowners, environmental groups and business owners.”

The Coast Guard’s primary goal in this case, as in all others, is to protect the environment and facilitate safe navigation up and down the Hudson River.

To ensure transparency with the public on this process, the Coast Guard provided this advanced notice of proposed rulemaking to the invested communities urging feedback. Should the Coast Guard propose to establish new anchorages on the Hudson River, it will continue to follow the federal rulemaking process. The next step in that process would be to develop the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, initiate an additional comment period, conduct environmental studies, and town hall meetings.

Click here to read the ANPRM in the Federal Register.

By Professional Mariner Staff