Hawley urges governor to declare state of emergency due to rising Lake Ontario

Staff Reports Posted 25 April 2017 at 3:24 pm

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R-Batavia) recently wrote to Gov. Cuomo requesting that a State of Emergency be enacted in order to provide aid to the thousands of residents and businesses that have been and will be forced out due to the rising water levels along Lake Ontario’s shoreline and help mitigate and prevent further property damage.

“There is no doubt that the water will continue to rise over the next several days and the devastation from flooding will be irreversible,” Hawley wrote. “Residents will be forced out of their homes. Businesses will be forced to close. Municipal infrastructure will be overwhelmed. The fishing and tourism industry will also suffer.”

The lake is currently 18 inches higher than normal, and could go a foot higher in the next month. Orleans County, and the towns of Carlton, Kendall and Yates have all declared states of emergency, as well as other municipalities along the lake.

Much of the damage stems from the International Joint Commission (IJC) agreement signed by former President Obama shortly before leaving office, Hawley said.

Montreal needs to release water in order to lower water levels along the Lake Ontario shorelines but are prohibited because of the new IJC agreement, Hawley said.

“Necessary steps have been put into place to ensure the safety of residents and to help protect the local economy, but we need help,” Hawley continued in his letter. “I am requesting that you declare a State of Emergency to provide further resources and possible financial relief to municipalities, homeowners and business owners along the shore.”

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