Environmentalists: Coast Guard may have miscalculated source, amount of spill

Posted: Updated:
HAVERSTRAW -

A possible fuel spill on the Hudson River is worrying residents and environmentalists in Rockland County, even though the Coast Guard says it's only rain runoff.

Haverstraw resident James Tyler, who lives steps from the Hudson River, said he woke up Sunday morning to an entire neighborhood that smelled like diesel fuel.

“It was glistening and rainbow sheen of some kind of petroleum stuff,” he says.

Police from the Rockland County Sheriff's Office say they believe a tugboat owned by nearby construction quarry Tilcon may have leaked fuel.

Officials from the Coast Guard, the lead agency on the investigation, say its pollution teams discovered the diesel is actually rain runoff from somewhere up river, and the amount they say is only five to 10 gallons.

Riverkeeper spokesperson Cliff Weathers says he believes the Coast Guard may have miscalculated the source and the amount of the spill.

“It seems to be a considerable amount. It really stinks terribly. When we got down there, there were just rainbow patches for many, many meters,” said Weathers.

Residents said they were also skeptical of the Coast Guard's report, adding that they are concerned for the health of the river that they boat, swim in and live by every day.

Officials from the Coast Guard say its pollution teams are still investigating the cause of the leak and trying to identity its exact source.

The spokesperson for the New York Department of Environmental Conservation says its units are also on scene and investigating the spill.

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