New York state suing International Joint Commission over Lake Ontario water levels

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IRONDEQUOIT, N.Y. — After high water levels last spring devastated Lake Ontario shoreline communities, New York state is now suing the organization responsible for regulating the water levels.

“Litigation is a last resort,” Cuomo said. “It comes from frustration, it comes from the lack of responsiveness by IJC, it comes from the clear negligence and from their series of excuses.”

New York State is suing the International Joint Commission for negligence and not doing enough to prevent homes and businesses along the shoreline from being damaged.

The announcement was made Wednesday in Rochester, with Gov. Andrew Cuomo joined by other state and local officials.

“The IJC’s job is to manage the lake level, and they have failed to manage the lake level. Period,” said Cuomo, D-New York.

The IJC is a Canadian-American joint committee that is in charge of regulating water outflows and levels on Lake Ontario. The IJC has come under fire in recent years as Ontario has seen historically high water levels in 2017 and in 2019.

State Sen. Robert Ortt, whose 62nd District contains affected shoreline in Niagara County, said it was “long overdue.”

Ortt said the lawsuit will “seek financial compensation for the residents, localities, and businesses along the lake’s shores.”

New 4 reached out to IJC, they tell us they are aware of the governor’s announcement, but have not received formal notice that any action was taken.

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