Cuomo signs bill to allow tanker avoidance zones on Hudson

The following is the text of a news release from the office of New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo:

(ALBANY, N.Y.) — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has signed legislation to allow the state to establish guidelines for tanker avoidance zones. The legislation also establishes minimum conditions under which petroleum-bearing vessels are authorized to navigate on the Hudson River.

"The Hudson River is one of New York's most vital and cherished waterways, spurring commerce and tourism in every community it runs through," Cuomo said. "With this measure, we are taking concrete steps to preserve the beauty of this natural resource as well as protect the New Yorkers who live along the banks on this great Empire State treasure."

This bill (S.5197B/A.6825A) amends navigation law to allow New York state to create guidelines for tanker avoidance zones, which would prevent anchorages for oil tankers on the Hudson River. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will be required to consult with the Coast Guard, the Department of State, the NYS Board of Commissioners of Pilots and at least one licensed Hudson River pilot to establish these guidelines. Such conditions for tanker avoidance zones include but are not limited to navigational hazards; environmental conditions; the existence of designated significant coastal fish and wildlife habitats; proximity to waterfront communities; disproportionate impacts on communities; and federally or state identified environmental remediation sites. They also may consider an affected community's waterfront revitalization plan or comprehensive plan and the environmental justice communities' impacts.

This bill would provide flexibility for the state to determine the appropriate conditions and guidelines for petroleum-bearing vessels on the Hudson River and the establishment of the tanker avoidance zones. With this flexibility, the state would be able to evaluate each instance to ensure that it would be feasible and not hinder the necessary travel of petroleum-bearing vessels on the Hudson River and active ports, several of which have active major oil storage facilities.

By Professional Mariner Staff