Ritchie, Barclay and Walczyk Launch Petition Calling for Suspension of Plan 2014

SEN. Patty Ritchie

June 18, 2019


Following a second major flooding event in three years, State Senator Patty Ritchie and Assembly members Will Barclay and Mark Walczyk are calling on shoreline property owners, small business owners and other stakeholders to sign their petition calling for the halting of Plan 2014 until problems resulting from record high water can be addressed.

“Across our region, thousands of people are dealing with record high water that is destroying homes, crippling small businesses and severely damaging shoreline infrastructure,” said Senator Patty Ritchie.

“I understand the need to balance the competing interests when it comes to regulating water levels; however the current plan is having a disproportionate impact on property owners and shoreline business owners. I think it’s important the International Joint Commission suspend the plan, hear the voices of those impacted and take a serious look at how changes can be made that would prevent any further devastation.”

“With catastrophic flooding taking place in two out of the three years that Plan 2014 has been in place, something needs to change,” said Assemblyman Will Barclay (R, C, I, Ref—Pulaski). 

“The lake is nearly three feet above the 100-year average. The flooding has ruined homes and businesses, such as marinas, are turning boaters away because their docks are underwater.  Federal and international representatives need to take immediate action to help protect property owners.  The current situation is not safe and it is devastating to communities and the local economy.”

"It's high time we stand arm and arm and demand the IJC halts and reevaluates Plan 2014," said Assemblyman Mark Walczyk.  "I am proud to support Senator Ritchie's efforts and encourage everyone affected by the high water to sign our petition."

The petition comes on the heels of word that the International Joint Commission—the body tasked with regulating the water levels of the Great Lakes between the United States and Canada—plans to call a special meeting to discuss suspending Plan 2014 and going back to the previous water management plan, Plan 1958D. Moreover, the board recently announced that they would be having discussions with interested stakeholders regarding plans to deviate beyond existing water flow parameters.

In 2017, Senator Ritchie held a hearing in Oswego County where experts and interested stakeholders provided testimony on regulation of water levels on Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River. One of the criticisms outlined at the hearing was Plan 2014’s lack of flexibility when confronted with changing weather conditions.

“While I am pleased to hear the Board now plans on increasing water flow beyond what the current plan calls for, unfortunately, significant damage has already taken place,” Senator Ritchie added. “There needs to be a water regulation plan in place that accounts for changing weather patterns and allows the Board to adapt accordingly.”

Earlier this month, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a new relief package aimed at improving waterfront infrastructure and helping shoreline communities rebuild. While full details of the package are forthcoming, Senator Ritchie and Assembly members Barclay and Walczyk are continuing to advocate for Central and Northern New York receiving what they need to rebound from damage caused by record high water.

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