State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner On Site Along With Emergency Response Staff from Multiple State Agencies
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that he has dispatched State Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos, as well as staff and resources from multiple State Agencies to a site on the Hudson River where a barge carrying approximately 2.5 million gallons of gasoline ran aground. No leaks have been detected at the site, which is just south of the Rip Van Winkle Bridge in the Village of Catskill. In addition to the State's Emergency Response efforts, the Governor is launching an immediate investigation into the cause of the incident.
"The Hudson River is a critical piece of the Empire State, both environmentally and economically, and we are launching a full-scale response to ensure this incident does not threaten it," Governor Cuomo said. "The full resources of several state agencies including the Departments of Environmental Conservation and Health have been deployed to not only ensure a quick and thorough response, but to launch a full investigation into what caused the barge to run aground in the first place."
State officials are coordinating the State response with the U.S. Coast Guard which has jurisdiction over a majority of the response. Already, the Department of Environmental Conservation has deployed its Emergency Spill Response trailer equipped with booms and other spill response equipment and has launched an aerial drone to monitor the waters and environment surrounding the site. Spill response teams and air monitoring equipment are also being pre-positioned to immediately respond in the event a spill is detected. The vessel's owner has positioned a recovery barge on-site to receive gasoline from the grounded barge once the U.S. Coast Guard gives the direction to do so.
Additionally, teams from the Departments of Environmental Conservation and Health are currently investigating the extent to which this incident my impact local drinking water systems and will implement protective measures as appropriate. The barge has not impacted navigation on the channel and the Department of Environmental Conservation, State Police and local law enforcement have all launched boats to ensure the channel remains clear.
At the Governor's direction, State investigators will now work to determine what caused the tanker to leave the shipping channel and run aground. This includes the role that weather and human error may have played in this incident, as well as examining any measures that could be taken at the state level to prevent future incidents.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "Governor Cuomo has directed DEC law enforcement and emergency response crews to work closely with the United States Coast Guard and local law enforcement to assist in the response efforts and ensure that no spills of fuel occur. DEC officials will remain on the scene and will be ready to rapidly respond if a spill does occurs to ensure public health and the environment are protected."
Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, "Under Governor Cuomo's direction the Department of Health is assisting in the state response to this incident. Early reports indicate no spills have occurred, and while there are no public water systems in the immediate vicinity of the incident, we have contacted operators downstream as a precaution and are working with our partners in local health departments for their awareness."