Discussed irreplaceable damage to Lake Ontario shoreline property; government officials provided guidance on available assistance
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On June 27th Congressmen John Katko (NY-24) and Chris Collins (NY-27) hosted a meeting with stakeholders impacted by the Lake Ontario flooding to discuss the devastation directly related to the International Joint Commission (IJC) Plan 2014. Staff members from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers answered questions from Central and Western New York county leaders and explained how government agencies can provide assistance and help prevent further damage.
“There is no question that the implementation of Plan 2014 has wreaked havoc in our community,” said Katko. “I was pleased to welcome Wayne County Board of Supervisors Chairman LeRoy and Sodus Point Mayor Tertinek to Washington to participate in this discussion and will continue to fight to ensure shoreline residents, property owners, businesses, and farmers are able to receive the relief they desperately need.”
“Today we had a room full of local leaders and we can all agree that Plan 2014 is a disaster,” said Collins. “Residents, businesses and municipalities along the Lake Ontario shore deserve better than this bureaucratic mess, and the team that was in the meeting today is fighting for any relief that can be provided.”
Collins and Katko are vocal opponents to Plan 2014, and have proposed an amendment to the FY18 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs appropriations bill that would direct the IJC to compensate shoreline property owners for damages caused by Plan 2014 using the panel’s existing funding. Increased water levels have caused millions of dollars in damage and residents have yet to receive any relief.
“I would like to thank Congressman Collins and Congressman Katko for organizing this vitally important forum. Listening to real stories from local leaders across the state will help us learn more about the real impacts of Plan 2014 throughout our coastal communities along Lake Ontario. I look forward to continuing to work alongside my colleagues in the House and our local leaders to find a solution to the issues facing our property owners in the region,” said Congresswoman Claudia Tenney.
Wayne County Board of Supervisors Chairman Steve Le Roy said, “We’ve seen record devastation of Wayne County’s shoreline and unprecedented flooding this year alone because of the failed implementation of Plan 2014. We will only see real relief with a full repeal of Plan 2014. This meeting was an opportunity to raise Wayne County’s concerns at a federal level and we’re grateful to Congressmen Katko and Collins for continuing to advocate for our community in Washington.”
“I made a pledge to the residents of the Town of Greece that I would explore every option available to help alleviate the ill effects of the rising waters and shoreline erosion,” said Bill Reilich, Supervisor, Town of Greece. “I appreciate the work of Congressman Collins and Congressman Katko for making this trip to Washington, D.C. possible. I intend to gather as much information as possible and hope that we are able to urge the decision makers in DC that changes must be made to the existing plan. The devastating conditions that we are experiencing in the Town of Greece and the entire shoreline are not acceptable and relief must be provided.”
“Orleans County tax payers have suffered nearly an $11 million dollar loss along the Lake Ontario shoreline, and this number is still growing,” said Legislator Lynne Johnson, District 2 Orleans County. “It is my honor to represent them in Washington, D.C. and plead for this much needed funding on their behalf. It should not come from the backs of the rest of our Orleans County tax payers that do not live along the lake and did not suffer these losses.”
“After nearly four years fighting to stop Plan 2014, the inevitable has devastated our lakeshore and harbors, forcing people out of their homes and causing businesses to close,” said Legislator David Godfrey, District 10 Niagara County. “The immediate financial impact on Niagara County alone has surpassed $21.7 million dollars, and the loss of sales tax revenues will be felt for months to come. Our meetings in Washington, thanks to Congressman Collins, will hopefully free the resources and moneys needed not only to repair our damages, but also protect what is left from further damage and loss.”
The leaders in attendance are committed to delivering relief to those impacted by the flooding and will remain devoted to working cooperatively to get the people of Central and Western New York the compensation they deserve.