County Leg asks Trump to renegotiate Plan 2014 for regulating water levels

Photo by Tom Rivers: Bruce Schmidt, a resident of Gaines and Carlton, speaks in support of a resolution asking the Trump administration to renegotiate Plan 2014 for regulating Lake Ontario water levels.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 May 2019 at 1:22 pm

ALBION – The Orleans County Legislature last week passed an official resolution asking President Donald Trump to immediately renegotiate Plan 2014, an agreement for regulating Lake Ontario water levels between Canada and United States.

The plan took effect in December 2016. Since then there was record-high lake levels in 2017. Now the lake is an inch away from the record height and the Legislature said the high waters and flooding are devastating residences, businesses and government infrastructure.

The County Legislature went on the record several times opposing Plan 2014 before the document was approved.

Not only has the high water chewed away at shoreline, it has hurt the sportsfishing industry, valued at $12 million annually in Orleans and $30 million annually in Niagara County. Legislators said.

Orleans County and the three lakeshore towns of Yates, Carlton and Kendall have all issued states of emergency due to the current high lake levels.

“The implementation of Plan 2014 has proven an absolute disaster to the southern shore of Lake Ontario, that based on the 2017 high water event we expended $95 million dollars of state taxpayer dollars, plus FEMA funds along with other resources to reinforce property that has had been extremely altered and are right back in 2019 with another devastation that is playing out right now,” the Legislature states in the resolution.

The local lawmakers called on the International Joint Commission, the group that regulates the water levels, “to immediately suspend Plan 2014 and re-implement previous regulatory rules.”

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