Plan 2014 Comes Under Scrutiny At Flooding Hearing

Plan 2014 Comes Under Scrutiny At Flooding Hearing

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Questions about a plan in place to regulate water levels on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River were at the forefront during a public hearing about this year's flooding.

Close to 200 people packed the auditorium at Mexico High School in Oswego County Tuesday night to hear from experts about this year's record high water levels. 

Sen. Patty Ritchie along with three other state lawmakers were asking the questions. 

"The extreme high water levels on Lake Ontario this year were primarily driven by extreme weather conditions," said Stephen Durrett from the International Joint Commission's (IJC) Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board. His comments were followed by jeers from the crowd.

The cause of this year's flooding has been a bone of contention.

While the IJC says it's due to record rainfall, many think Plan 2014, a water-regulation plan that was implemented this year, had something to do with it. 

Ritchie organized the hearing to get answers.

"I think it's important that people are able to hear from the IJC," she said after the hearing. "I know the question that's been on everyone's mind is are we going to have to live through this again next year?"

An IJC representative said there's no way to prevent it from happening again.

Other organizations and individuals also spoke at the hearing about their experiences, including the Army Corps of Engineers and a representative from the state's Department of Environmental Conservation.

"The IJC's actions over the course of the spring and summer, clearly illustrated that they favored the interest of commercial waterborne shipping interests over the homeowners, businesses and municipalities on both sides of the bodies of waters," DEC executive deputy commissioner Kenneth Lynch said.

A representative from the IJC says a committee is working on a report that will look at the this year's flooding and will try to answer questions and make suggestions on how to make the plan better.

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