Cuomo says ‘extreme weather’ becoming norm with frequent flooding in NY

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 May 2017 at 9:50 pm

‘I’m sorry for all the hardship the residents who are affected by the Lake Ontario flooding are going through right now.’ – Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Photo from Governor’s Office: Gov. Andrew Cuomo sees the sandbagging operation in Rochester today.

ROCHESTER – In declaring a state of emergency today for the southshore counties along Lake Ontario, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the designation will speed up the permitting process for putting in breakwalls and other short-term efforts to fight flooding.

He also is tasking the Department of Environmental Conservation and state agencies to work on a long-term solution to combat flooding and extreme weather.

“There is no doubt that Mother Nature is royal and we’re seeing extreme weather. Just to give you an idea: my six years as Governor, I’ve had nine weather-related emergencies,” Cuomo said today in Rochester, according to a transcript of his remarks released by his office. “My father was governor for 12 years. He only had 11 weather-related emergencies. During my father’s tenure, the weather emergencies were high levels of snow on the Thruway. There were no hurricanes, floods, Storm Irene, Storm Sandy.”

Cuomo said the DEC will send coastal engineers to look at the coastline.

“Let’s start to prepare for a future where we have more flooding,” he said. “And rather than respond on an emergency basis, let’s respond on a strategic basis and look at where we have to build, break walls etc. to stop the flooding.”

The governor urged people to call the DEC hotline if a permit is needing for piping or other projects to protect property: 866-244-3839.

The State of Emergency will expedite repair to impacted structures and construction of shoreline stabilization projects in the following counties: Cayuga, Jefferson, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans, Oswego, St. Lawrence and Wayne.

The Governor’s order also empowers the DEC and other state agencies to issue emergency individual permits for those larger-scale response actions that may be necessary.

“I’m sorry for all the hardship the residents who are affected by the Lake Ontario flooding are going through right now,” Cuomo said in Rochester. “We just did a tour and there’s no doubt that homeowners are nervous and many of their homes are being impacted by flooding. Flooding, I’ve been through this many times and the damage it does to a home, it’s not easily resolved.”

Lake Ontario is at its highest level in more than 20 years, and is up 25 inches since the beginning of April, Cuomo said.

“The good news is this is not the first rodeo that New Yorkers have been through,” Cuomo said. “We went through Storm Irene, Storm Sandy. We’ve had our share of emergencies. And the good news is that when things are at their worst, is when New Yorkers are at their best. People really come together and the people of this state come together like a family when people need help.”

Collins says Cuomo slow to respond to high water crisis

U.S. Representative Chris Collins (R-Clarence) released the following statement after Governor Cuomo was in the Rochester area reviewing flooding caused by severe weather and the recent implementation of Plan 2014.

“It’s better late than never that Governor Cuomo has decided to join me in the fight against Plan 2014,” said Congressman Collins. “As he saw today, lakeshore owners need all the help they can get. The recent severe weather combined with the disastrous impact of IJC Plan 2014 has created a dire situation for property owners along Lake Ontario. The only question that remains is whether Congresswoman Slaughter will join us in fighting tooth and nail against the IJC to prevent further damage for our constituents.”

Ortt says emergency declaration will help homeowners, municipalities

State Senator Rob Ortt (R-North Tonawanda) applauded the state’s decision to declare a State of Emergency in several counties due to flooding from rising water levels in Lake Ontario.

“Homeowners along Lake Ontario’s shoreline have been doing everything they can to protect their properties from being washed away. Since the International Joint Commission’s federal Plan 2014 policy went into effect this year, erosion across Niagara County’s entire shoreline has worsened,” Ortt said in a statement.

“Flooding over the weekend has damaged many homes, businesses and infrastructure. For some residents and business owners, the devastation is irreversible. With this State of Emergency, we can now look into funding sources to help municipalities, homeowners and businesses reclaim some of the losses. Along with Congressmen Collins and local officials, I have railed against Plan 2014 for years and I hope the state will step up to find a long-term solution as well.”

Ortt also has requested an expedited DEC Shore Protection Permit process for communities negatively impacted by Lake Ontario’s severe erosion. The permit would allow residents and business owners to protect and stabilize their properties by building out.

Hawley will tour lakeshore sites on Friday

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R-Batavia) announced he will be touring several locations along the Lake Ontario shoreline on Friday to view the devastation firsthand and draw attention to the dire conditions faced by residents and businesses.

He will be visiting the towns of Yates, Carlton, Kendall and Hamlin.

“The devastation along the Lake Ontario shoreline has reached monumental proportions,” Hawley said. “I have reached out to many high-profile elected officials from all over the state, and even the White House for assistance and to join me on this endeavor and I am hopeful that, through a collaborative effort, we can bring relief to the many residents and businesses who have been displaced due to this disaster.”

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