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US Coast Guard Suspends Hudson River Barge Plan

ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The U.S. Coast Guard has shelved a contentious proposal that would allow oil barges to anchor at 10 locations along the Hudson River, an idea that faced stiff opposition from many riverside residents.

Coast Guard officials in New York announced Wednesday they had suspended “future rulemaking decisions” on plans to place the commercial shipping anchorages along a 70-mile stretch of the river from Yonkers to Kingston.

The proposal has been opposed by lawmakers, environmental groups and Hudson Valley residents who say allowing oil barges to anchor in large numbers poses a threat to the river’s ecosystem.

“This was never a good idea, it’s unnecessary, puts 50 years of Hudson River recovery work at risk, and undermines our river towns,” said Paul Gallay, president for the environmental group Riverkeeper.

Critics feared the river would become a parking lot for oil barges.

“The Coast Guard admitted that after 10,000 public comments came in, which was a record for this kind of proposal, that they hadn’t really understood all the risks to the river and the public sentiment and the importance of the river to riverside businesses and communities,” said Gallay. “Ten-thousand people spoke with one voice, the Coast Guard is listening.”

Shipping industry officials said safe places to anchor are needed when vessels must wait for weather improvement, icebreaking or other voyage factors.

The Coast Guard said it will review the thousands of public comments on the plan while assessing the proposal.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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