In 2016, the shipping industry proposed 10 new anchorage areas on the Hudson River between Yonkers and Kingston, with berths for 43 vessels, including 16 vessels between Yonkers and Dobbs Ferry. Of the 43 berths, 42 were identified as “long term,” which was not defined.
The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its review of that proposal in 2018, after it received more than 10,000 comments, more than 90 percent of which were against the anchorages. Though that scuttled proposal never resurfaced, efforts to prevent additional anchorages never subsided, as was evident this week.
On Dec. 8, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2021, which includes a permanent ban on new anchorages for oil barges between Yonkers and Kingston. The bill next needs the approval of the U.S. Senate, and then the signature of the President.
Of the 335 House members who supported the bill, 195 are Democrats and 140 are Republicans. Of the 78 who opposed it, 37 are Democrats and 40 are Republicans.
The author of the ban was Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, a Democrat whose 18th District includes Orange and Putnam counties as well as parts of Westchester and Dutchess counties. Last month, Maloney was reelected to a fifth term, defeating Republican James O’Donnell by a vote of 139,564 to 112,035.
The chief concern about the anchorages was that the Hudson would become a parking lot for oil barges. Opponents pointed out that seven authorized anchorage grounds exist: three south of the George Washington Bridge (GWB), three between the GWB and Yonkers, and one off Hyde Park, in Dutchess County. In addition, vessels can anchor in unauthorized areas during emergencies.
The proposed anchorages riled up residents along the river like nothing else before or since. The permanent ban would ensure that never needs to happen again.