Rep. Pat Ryan calls on Coast Guard to uphold ban that prohibits barges from anchoring along Hudson River
The Democrat, who represents the 18th Congressional District, said he fears that the Hudson River could turn into "a parking lot" that is filled with barges carrying oils, asphalt and other hazardous materials because of a slight change in the definition of the Port of New York.
"What the Coast Guard has done in this latest ruling is basically tighten that radius and bring [the port] only up to the Cuomo Bridge," Ryan said.
The congressman was concerned that parts of the river that are located north of the Cuomo Bridge could turn into "the Wild West."
"Where all these dangerous substances sit in high-traffic areas," Ryan said.
Ryan worried that this could pose a threat to the river's ecosystem.
Riverkeeper, a clean water advocacy group, also shared the congressman's environmental concerns. John Lipscomb, who serves as the group's patrol boat captain, also had health concerns.
"A lot of communities drink Hudson River water," Lipscomb said.
Ryan added that Riverkeeper and other environmental groups have been instrumental in protecting the river in the past. So, he said wrote a letter to the Coast Guard voicing their concerns.
However, he said the Coast Guard's response was insufficient and that they didn't answer many of his questions.
"Rather than being transparent about this, they're trying to keep everything opaque and hidden from public view," Ryan said.
The congressman also called on them to reinstate their previous definition of the Port of New York, which included parts of the river that are north of the Gov. Mario Cuomo Bridge.
News 12 reached out to the Coast Guard for comment but has not heard back.