Brindisi Launches #FloodTheIJC Campaign to Hold IJC Accountable to Lake Ontario Property Owners

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October 23, 2019
Press Release

Following Inaction from International Governing Body, Congressman Takes Citizens Concerns Directly to Chairs of Committee 

Brindisi to Send A Letter A Week Demanding A Plan to Keep Water Levels Under Control 

Brindisi: Lake Ontario Property Owners Have Been Ignored For Too Long By The IJC; The Commission Needs To Be Held Accountable  

Congressman Anthony Brindisi launched the #FloodTheIJC campaign today. Brindisi announced that he will be sending a letter a week to the International Joint Commission (IJC), the governing body for Lake Ontario water levels, and is encouraging Lake Ontario property owners to share their stories with him and the IJC.

Following the failure of the IJC to present a clear and cohesive solution to the continued flooding in Oswego County, Brindisi joined local community leaders to demand action. Brindisi plans to send a letter a week to the IJC highlighting current water levels compared to the same time in 2017, a year with widespread flooding.

“I’ve met with flood victims, toured the impacted businesses, and spoken with community leaders and we all agree: enough is enough,” Brindisi said. “The IJC needs to be held accountable and if they aren’t being responsive to the communities’ needs then the IJC needs to hear these concerns each and every week. As their Congressman, I will not stop until the IJC listens and responds to the concerns of this community.”

Brindisi addressed his letter to Canadian Section Chair Pierre Béland and American Section Chair Jane Corwin.

“I am deeply concerned that the current course of action by the IJC will again result in flooding along the North and South shores of Lake Ontario in 2020,” Brindisi wrote in his letter. “In January 2019, Lake Ontario water levels stood at 245.34 feet, and as you know we experienced the second year of devastating flooding. We cannot see another year where residences, businesses, and infrastructure across the Upstate New York and Canadian shorelines are under water, hurting our economy and our communities.”

Earlier this year, Brindisi brought members of the IJC to Oswego County for a roundtable discussion. Brindisi continued his fierce advocacy by bringing community leaders before members of the IJC to follow-up on their concerns.

In August, Brindisi and Congressman John Katko (NY-24) secured a Government Accountability Office study of the IJC’s Plan 2014. Brindisi continues to hold the IJC accountable and call for a fix to Plan 2014.

Residents interested in joining the #FloodtheIJC campaign can fill out Congressman Brindisi’s survey HERE.

Full text of Brindisi’s letter is below:

Dear Chairpersons Corwin and Béland, 

On September 24, 2019 I joined with my colleagues Congressman Morelle (NY-25) and Congressman Katko (NY-24) to call on the International Joint Commission (IJC) to “take aggressive preemptive action to deter flooding in the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River system ahead of spring 2020.” We requested a plan from the IJC by October 7, 2019. That date has come and gone with no response from the IJC.  I have enclosed a copy of that correspondence for your convenience. It has been nearly 30 days since that request, and I will be corresponding with you every week until we have received a satisfactory response to our inquiry.

I am deeply concerned that the current course of action by the IJC will again result in flooding along the North and South shores of Lake Ontario in 2020. In January 2019, Lake Ontario water levels stood at 245.34 feet, and as you know we experienced the second year of devastating flooding. We cannot see another year where residences, businesses, and infrastructure across the Upstate New York and Canadian shorelines are under water, hurting our economy and our communities.

I have heard from experts in our community that the January 2020 lake level must be 244 feet or below in order to prevent another round of flooding, assuming another year of heavy rainfall. As of October 16, Lake Ontario stands at 246 feet. This is half a foot higher than at the same point in 2017, the last time these communities faced widespread flooding.

Families and businesses on both sides of Lake Ontario are depending on your assistance to ensure that the trigger levels in Plan 2014 do not result in yet another damaging and difficult year for riparians. Thank you for your urgent attention to this matter and I look forward to your response.

Sincerely  

Anthony Brindisi

Member of Congress