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New York to sue IJC over lake levels 

The state's Department of Environmental Conservation plans to sue the International Joint Commission for failing to properly manage water levels on Lake Ontario.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the lawsuit Wednesday afternoon to a crowd of reporters and local public officials on the deck of Silk O’Loughlin’s in Irondequoit, overlooking the water.

click to enlarge Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that the state would sue the International Joint Commission for failing to regulate Lake Ontario's levels. - PHOTO BY VERONICA VOLK, WXXI NEWS
  • PHOTO BY VERONICA VOLK, WXXI NEWS
  • Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that the state would sue the International Joint Commission for failing to regulate Lake Ontario's levels.
"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. This spring and summer, the southern shore of Lake Ontario experienced its second round of record flooding since the implementation nearly three years ago of a controversial plan for managing Lake Ontario's levels and outflows into the St. Lawrence River.

But the governor is going a step further by directing the DEC 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.

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