County Legislature backs NY’s lawsuit against IJC over damages from lake flooding

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 December 2019 at 6:12 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: Orleans County Legislator John DeFilipps, who owns a house on the lakefront in Carlton, states his support for a lawsuit against the International Joint Commission, a Canadian and American group that is charged with managing lake levels.

ALBION – The Orleans County Legislature went on the record today in support of the state’s lawsuit against the International Joint Commission.

State Attorney General Letitia James and Governor Andrew M. Cuomo last filed an expanded lawsuit against the IJC for failing to implement its flood protocol. The state is seeking at least $50 million in damages.

The county isn’t joining the lawsuit, but is stating its support for the state’s legal action. The county has about 25 miles of shoreline in Yates, Carlton and Kendall and many of the homes have had their property eroded from the high waters.

“We need to send the message,” said Ken DeRoller, a county legislator from Kendall. “They aren’t letting enough water out early enough.”

DeRoller said he is concerned the lake is currently 15 inches higher than it was a year ago on this date. Ice jams in Montreal make it difficult to let out water, he said.

County Legislator Don Allport of Gaines cast the lone no vote on the resolution today. He called the lawsuit from the state, “a publicity stunt.”

“This is not a solution,” Allport said. “This is just taxpayer money being thrown around.”

County Legislator John DefIlipps, who has a home by the lake in Carlton, said the county should show its support of the lawsuit being pushed by the state.

“Anything we can do to get these lake levels down we should do,” he said.

The Legislature’s resolution said the high water in 2017 and 2019 “caused millions of dollars’ worth of damage to the infrastructure, roads, homes and businesses along the lake shore of Orleans County.”

Copies of the resolution will be forwarded to Governor Cuomo; Senator Rob Ortt; Assemblyman Steve Hawley; Assemblyman Mike Norris; Towns of Kendall, Yates and Carlton; and Niagara, Monroe, Wayne, Cayuga, Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties.

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