New proposal would put large barges in Hudson River near Germantown
Roger Hannigan Gilson reports in the Times Union that the New York State Marine Highway Transportation Company, a private barge operator that transports rock from the Peckham Industries quarry in Catskill and the Colarusso & Sons quarry in the City of Hudson, wants to moor up to three 250-foot barges in the Hudson River near a Germantown park. The U.S. Coast Guard proposed a series of barge anchorages for oil ships in 2016, that was withdrawn after much public opposition. The federal government eventually passed a law prohibiting any anchorages south of Kingston. But Germantown is north of there, and this proposal is for a mooring, a semi-permanent anchor for ships across from the Ernest R. Lasher Jr. Memorial Park, rather than an anchorage. Local officials say they were only recently notified about the proposal for up to three barges parked near Germantown while waiting for dock space across the Hudson River at the Peckham Industries quarry and the LeHigh Cement plant, or after being loaded. “The other side of the river from us is industrial, you can see barges over there,” Germantown Town Supervisor Robert Beaury said. “So I don’t get it – why are you going to move [barges] from the industrial side of the river to the recreational side?” Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chair Matt Murell has issued a letter opposing the proposal and is asking Assemblyperson Didi Barrett, State Sen. Daphne Jordan, and Rep. Antonio Delgado, to also speak out against the proposed moorings. John Lipscomb, the boat captain for Riverkeeper, is a member of the Hudson River Safety, Navigation and Operations Committee newly created to regulate river activity, and says the moorings are nothing to worry about. “To put it in perspective, as I travel on the patrol boat on the length of the [Hudson River], there are hundreds of navigation aids — the red and green buoys — and what are they?” Lipscomb asked. “They’re a big anchor, a chain and a buoy…there’s never been any sort of evidence that [this] has a negative environmental impact.” The Hudson River Safety, Navigation and Operations Committee voted to back the project without hearing any comments from citizens. Read more about this story in the Times Union.