NORFOLK, Va. — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working on a General Reevaluation Study (GRR) with an integrated Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to evaluate environmental impacts from reasonable project alternatives and determining the potential for significant impacts related to the improvement of the anchorages included in the New York and New Jersey Harbor Federal Navigation Project.
The study will take into account changed conditions and/or assumptions since the original feasibility study was completed in 2000.
The GRR will address the need for anchorage areas capable of safely accommodating the vessels navigating the anchorages at present and reasonably projected to be navigating them in the future; or find that no plan is currently justified.
Currently, existing federal anchorages in the harbor are insufficient in meeting the variety of functions (ex. security and U.S. Coast Guard inspections, lightering, bunkering/refueling, waiting areas, and emergency “bailout” areas) they are used for as part of normal harbor operations, which reduces vessel safety and cargo transportation efficiency.
Multiple issues have been identified by key harbor users and stakeholders. There is not enough anchorage area to accommodate all of the vessels that need to anchor for various reasons.
The dimensions of existing anchorages cannot accommodate vessels larger than 1100 foot length overall, which is a significant portion of the vessels that regularly call on the harbor and anchored vessels regularly swing out into the navigation channel.
Vessels are currently forced to wait outside the harbor in the ocean due to a lack of anchorage availability and/or anchorage areas designed for larger vessels.
USACE is the lead federal agency and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will be the non-federal sponsor for the study. The GRR will address the primary problem of the New York and New Jersey Harbor Anchorages by studying all reasonable alternatives and determine the federal interest in cost-sharing for those alternatives.
As required by Council on Environmental Quality's Principles, Requirements and Guidelines for Water and Land Related Resources Implementation Studies all reasonable alternatives to the proposed federal action that meet the purpose and need will be considered in the EIS. These alternatives will include no action and a range of reasonable alternatives for improving navigation in the New York & New Jersey Harbor Anchorages.
Applicable laws include: section 102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 4321–4370, as implemented by the Council on Environmental Quality Regulations (40 CFR parts 1500–1508).
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The Port of New York & New Jersey