WXXI AM News

Cuomo announces state will sue International Joint Commission

Oct 9, 2019

Cuomo says the IJC is responsible for over $1 billion in damages caused by flooding in the last three years.
Credit Veronica Volk / WXXI News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that the state will be suing the International Joint Commission for failing to properly manage water levels on Lake Ontario.

The governor addressed reporters and local public officials on the deck of Silk O’Loughlin’s in Irondequoit, overlooking the water.

"The facts of the matter are plain and simple," Cuomo said. "The IJC's function is to manage the lake level. That is their job, to manage the lake level. They have failed to manage the lake level. Period."

This is not the first time the governor has criticized the IJC. The southern shore of Lake Ontario has seen record flooding since the implementation of a controversial lake level management plan nearly three years ago.

But now, the governor is going a step further -- he’s directing the state Department of Environmental Conservation to sue the IJC.

"The lawsuit is a hard case, I will tell you that," he said. "This is an international entity and it is going to be a difficult case for us to make. But it is a last resort, we have tried everything else. It is a cry for help from the state of New York."

The governor said the IJC's negligence cost the region more than $1 billion.

An IJC spokesperson said they are aware of the announcement but have not received formal notice of any action.