Lake Ontario flooding: N.Y. officials blast IJC

Jun 28, 2017
Originally published on June 28, 2017 1:11 pm

New York Congressmen who represent the southern shore of Lake Ontario say a U.S.-Canada regulatory body should pay for damages caused by weeks of flooding.

Rep. Chris Collins said the International Joint Commission's new management plan for the lake is "a disaster." Rep. John Katko said the plan has "wreaked havoc."


They met Tuesday with some local leaders from the region. And they proposed amending a spending bill to force the IJC to compensate shoreline property owners for millions of dollars in damage.

The IJC advises the U.S. and Canadian governments on regulating the Great Lakes. It also controls outflows from the Moses-Saunders hydroelectric dam, which helps to control the level of Lake Ontario.

But the IJC, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and others maintain that the flooding was triggered by unusually heavy spring rains -- not the lake management plan that took effect in January.

Collins and Katko echoed criticisms from N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has said the IJC "blew it."

"Residents, businesses and municipalities along the Lake Ontario shore deserve better than this bureaucratic mess, and the team that was in the meeting [Tuesday] is fighting for any relief that can be provided," Collins said in a statement.

Local leaders at the meeting said the IJC's plan -- known as Plan 2014 -- should be reversed. And they asked for assistance on damages.


"We’ve seen record devastation of Wayne County’s shoreline this year alone because of the failed implementation of Plan 2014," Wayne County Board of Supervisors Chairman Steve LeRoy said. "We will only see real relief with a full repeal of Plan 2014 by the IJC."


Niagara County official David Godfrey added, "The immediate financial impact on Niagara County alone has surpassed $21.7 million dollars, and the loss of sales tax revenues will be felt for months to come."



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