Pushback As Cuomo Again Blames IJC For Flooding,

Pushback As Cuomo Again Blames IJC For Flooding

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The governor held a news conference Tuesday in Sodus Point, a community on Lake Ontario where flooding has been a problem. He says the International Joint Commission is to blame, but officials who work with the IJC tell a different story.

"Nobody is saying, you know, aliens came down and brought the water. It was Mother Nature, we get it. It was the rain, but you knew during the winter that the lake was high. You knew before the April rains that the lake was high....They blew it because they didn't release the amount of water when they could," said Cuomo.

Not so fast says Thomas Brown. He's a member of the International Lake Ontario - St. Lawrence River Board, a group which works with the IJC.

He says the IJC, which controls releases of water through dams in Massena, didn't increase flows from the lake into the St. Lawrence River for a variety of reasons:

  • water levels were normal through January.
  • ice cover near the dams was too unstable
  • no once could've anticipated the record rain and runoff in the spring.

"This is simply a natural event. It's happened before. It'll happen in the future and the best thing that can be done down the line is provide ways to be more resilient on our shorelines," said Brown.

Cuomo also called on the IJC to increase the water flow through the dams.

"Keep it high. Get the lake down. Let the shipping companies deal with it," said Cuomo.

But, Canadian Senator Bob Runciman, who represents the Thousand Islands region, says the governor's remarks are irresponsible.

"Keep it high. Get the lake down. Let the shipping companies deal with it," said Cuomo.

"They would have to shut down the seaway and they have estimated the economic cost would be approximately $100 million," said Runciman.

Senator Runciman also says increasing the water flow would only drop the lake levels half an inch - at $100 million, he says it's not a good trade-off at this time. But, if we get even more precipitation, that could change.

In addition, Montreal has flooding issues of its own and releasing more water would only make it worse in that city.

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