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Organizational Sign-On Letter -- Protect the Hudson River from Oil Barges
Please add your organization to a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo, urging him to sign into law legislation to help protect the Hudson River from oil barges.

The deadline for signing on is this Thursday, October 19 at 6:00 pm.

This summer, the legislature passed a bill that would give the Department of Environmental Conservation the authority to establish "tanker avoidance zones" in the Hudson River.

This was in response to a proposal to turn the river into a virtual parking lot for fracked oil by creating 10 new locations for barges carrying petroleum.

This sign-on letter is open to any non-profit organization, faith institution, business, political club, civic group, labor union, or student organization.

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Dear Governor Cuomo,

We are writing to you as organizations with a deep knowledge and commitment to the Hudson River and the environmental, economic and quality of life interests of the communities along its banks. Collectively, we urge you to sign in to law legislation that would allow the Department of Conservation to establish ‘tanker avoidance zones’ in the Hudson River (A.6825a/ S.5197b), and direct the Department of Environmental Conservation to issue the strongest possible regulations permitted by law, consistent with the considerations detailed in the legislation.

As you are aware, The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) recently suspended a rulemaking process for 10 new anchorage grounds with 43 new berths for commercial vessels along the Hudson River located between Yonkers, Westchester County, and Kingston, Ulster County. The proposal, should it be reinitiated, threatens to create huge “parking lots” for barges—many of which could carry volatile crude oil—that cover over 2,400 acres of the river. The proposal would harm New York’s critical fish and wildlife habitats, drinking water resources, public use and enjoyment of local waterfronts for our citizens, the regional economy, and the goals of our waterfront communities.
 
The suspension of the highly controversial proposal is thanks to the influx of more than 10,000 comments from concerned members of the local community, agency officials, municipal leaders, environmental groups, and many others. In response to those comments, the USCG has initiated a Ports and Waterways Safety Assessment (PAWSA) to evaluate navigational safety on the Hudson River. However, there is no guarantee that the misguided proposal to establish new anchorage grounds has been permanently suspended. The bill before you can facilitate the achievement of standards that are necessary to protect the natural resources that are most critical to the Hudson Valley’s vitality and future. We urge that it receive your utmost attention.
 
The Legislature, through near unanimous support of A.6825a/ S.5197b, has presented the state with a unique and important opportunity to be in a strong position to prevent anchorages from being sited at locations where they pose a clear and direct threat to the environment, quality of life, and regional economic development goals. Together with the state’s existing authority in the Navigation Law, the bill gives the Department of Environmental Conservation the ability to influence future action by the USCG in this respect. We urge you to direct the Department to issue regulations that will accomplish this, in consultation with environmental groups, municipalities, local economic development and maritime interests.

During your tenure as Governor, New York State has secured environmental victories that have been essential to public health, the environment and the economy of the state. Support for the Environmental Protection Fund, your ban on hydraulic fracturing, and water quality permit decisions relating to energy development and transport are among these many accomplishments. We see this legislation as consistent with your historic leadership and track record on the environment and important to the future well-being of the Hudson Valley, the Capital District and New York State.

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