Rep. Maloney’s Bill to Protect Hudson River Passes House
Real Estate In-Depth | December 9, 2020
WASHINGTON—The House of Representatives on Dec. 8 passed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2021 on a bipartisan vote, which includes Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney’s (NY-18) provision permanently banning the establishment of new anchorages for oil barges on the lower Hudson River, from Yonkers to Kingston.
“This is a victory for the Hudson Valley. I promised to ban oil barges from anchoring on the lower Hudson River, and I’m proud to announce today that this ban was officially passed through the House of Representatives with broad, bipartisan support,” said Rep. Maloney. “We are the gatekeepers of the Hudson River, and it’s up to us to be good stewards of the river so New Yorkers can enjoy it for generations to come. I look forward to this provision passing the Senate, and urge the president to sign this bill into law.”
Representative Maloney has been a longtime champion of the effort to ban anchorage sites on the Hudson River. For years, he worked alongside local communities, elected officials from both parties, and environmental groups in the Hudson Valley to kill a proposal to install ten new anchorage sites on the Hudson River from Yonkers to Kingston, including 42 long-term berths which would be used for oil storage. Last Congress, he championed an amendment defunding future attempts to establish new anchorage sites through 2018 and introduced the Hudson River Protection Act, which would prohibit new anchorage sites within five miles of an existing superfund site, a nuclear power plant, a site on the national register of historic places, or a critical habitat of an endangered species.
In his role as Chairman of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee, Rep. Maloney authored a provision to permanently ban the establishment of new anchorages along the Hudson River between Kingston and Yonkers. This provision was included in the Elijah E. Cummings Coast Guard Authorization Act, which authorizes funds and sets policy for the United States Coast Guard and Federal Maritime Commission and was attached to the National Defense Authorization Act.
Westchester County Executive George Latimer issued a statement heralding the House’s passage of U.S. Rep. Maloney’s bill to permanently ban oil barge anchorages on the Lower Hudson River. “This is a major step forward for the continued fight for a clean Hudson River,” Latimer said. “The placement of massive oil-tanker parking stations along our riverfronts would lead to increased river traffic, the degradation of our efforts to enhance the space for economic and environmental purposes and create a sitting environmental disaster waiting to happen.”
The House of Representatives earlier this month also passed the bipartisan Water Resources Development Act, which contained three provisions U.S. Rep. Maloney championed. The bill includes the Dam Safety Improvement Act, a provision to advance the New York New Jersey Harbor & Tributaries project under the Hudson River Climate Change Protection Act, as well as a provision to prioritize flood risk management projects on the Rondout Creek-Wallkill River Watershed.
The legislation will support the Hudson Valley ecosystem and improve New York’s water infrastructure, Rep. Maloney stated.
“It’s our job to protect the Hudson River and our river communities—not just today, but for future generations of New Yorkers,” said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney. “I’m proud that bills and provisions I authored and championed were included in this strong bipartisan package, and will continue to fight for more projects that respond to the threat of climate change, improve our water infrastructure, and protect our river communities and farmers.”
The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) is a legislative package that authorizes studies and projects within the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) Civil Works mission areas, including: navigation; flood, hurricane, storm damage reduction; shoreline protection and ecosystem restoration.
The Dam Safety Improvement Act builds on the success of the High-Hazard Dam Rehabilitation Program by expanding eligibility of funds for the repair and rehabilitation of high-hazard dams. This important program was created by Rep. Maloney’s Dam Rehabilitation and Repair Act, which was signed into law in 2016. New York State has the eighth most high-hazard dams in the country totaling 403, with nearly 100 of those dams in the Hudson Valley. The average age of America’s 90,000+ dams is 56 years old. Maintaining this critical infrastructure will save lives.
The Hudson River Climate Change Protection Act will help address the local impact of rising sea-levels and low-frequency precipitation by authorizing the Army Corps of Engineers to study both this threat, and the threat of hurricane damage in coastal communities throughout the country. According to the federal U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), sea levels along the coasts of New York State have risen by about 13 inches since 1880, and are projected to rise another one-foot -to-4 feet by 2100. Rising sea levels will increase the frequency and severity of flooding, putting communities and coastal ecosystems along the Hudson River, an extension of the Atlantic Ocean, at risk. The New York New Jersey Harbor & Tributaries project (NYNJHATS) is designed to help protect New York from catastrophic storm damage, and design measures to manage future flood risk in ways that are effective and sustainable.
Under this bill, the Rondout Creek-Wallkill River Watershed flood reduction project will be prioritized and expedited by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Rep. Maloney has fought for years to secure funds for Orange County farmers and communities along the Wallkill River impacted by frequent flooding and erosion, and improve infrastructure impacted by frequent flooding.
Rep. Maloney serves on the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, and is the Chair of the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation. He has been a long-time champion of environmental protection measures and has worked to protect and improve infrastructure in river communities up and down the Hudson River.