Pace Environmental Policy Clinic Students Fight for the Hudson River
After the Environmental Policy Clinic uncovered procedural irregularities by the Coast Guard, the agency appointed student clinicians Christina Thomas and Peggy Doyle as official observers for a study of the Hudson the Clinic said was necessary.
Engaging in one of the most potentially volatile Hudson River controversies in years, Pace University Environmental Policy Clinic students participated in an official US Coast Guard process of governance and policy.
This November, Christina Thomas ’19, Environmental Studies, and Margaret (Peggy) Doyle ’19, Economics, were invited by the US Coast Guard to be official observers at a Port and Waterway Safety Assessment (PAWSA) workshop in Poughkeepsie, New York. It was the first public step in studying a Coast Guard plan to permit 43 special anchorages on the Hudson River where commercial ships, many carrying petroleum products, could drop anchor.
The students and their Clinic classmates began an investigation of Coast Guard procedures prior to its June 2016 anchorages proposal, and in December 2016, shared findings at a news conference that the agency had bypassed its own rules. Although the Coast Guard denied these charges, in July 2017 the proposal was halted so that they could conduct the very PAWSA the students requested.
As a result of the PAWSA workshop in November, and the effectiveness of the original work began in the Environmental Policy Clinic, the Coast Guard will continue to investigate the need for and risks associated with the anchorages proposal, and provide an environmental impact statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This is exactly the action students had proposed to congressional representatives at a Project Pericles event in April. The students’ efforts in this process have been an honor for Pace, and a recognition of the Pace Path of professional training combined with classroom learning.
For an interview with clinicians Christina Thomas and Peggy Doyle follow this link.
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Antonia Gentile is staff and communications associate in the Office of the Dean, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences at Pace.