Governor Andrew Cuomo came to Rochester Tuesday to pledge help for area residents impacted by the recent flooding along the south shore of Lake Ontario.
Among the things Cuomo announced at Ontario Beach was that he is declaring a ‘state of emergency.’ He says he’s taking that step to give state agencies more flexibility in responding to issues related to the flooding which has impacted homeowners and businesses near the lake.
The governor is also appointing a response team that will consist of various state agencies in case the flooding gets worse and he says the state will position equipment in the area so that it can respond quickly in case of an emergency. That includes having 300 National Guard personnel ready to respond if needed.
The state will also position equipment in the Monroe County area so it also is available in case of emergencies.
“The equipment that we’re accumulating consists of towers, hoses, barriers, generators, pumping equipment, high axle vehicles, zodiac boats, pumps, which will be all in a regional stockpile which will be in Monroe but will be easily accessed if we need it,”Cuomo told reporters at the Roger Robach Community Center.
Cuomo also says that state officials reached out to the International Joint Commission in an effort to get that agency to increase the flow of water from Lake Ontario into the St. Lawrence River. But the governor says they rebuffed that request, because of the possible flooding that would cause in other areas, such as Montreal. However an IJC spokesman told Great Lakes Today, he was unaware of any state request to the commission.
“I don’t agree with that position, I’m appealing to our federal representatives, the state has no one on the commission, it’s all national and Canadian, so I’m reaching out to our Congressional delegation to intervene on our behalf," Cuomo said during his Rochester stop.
Cuomo says he did not support Plan 2014, which went into effect earlier this year and will impact the way lake levels are regulated. However officials with the IJC have maintained that most of the current flooding problems are due to the extremely wet weather in April, and not changes brought about by the plan.
Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo released a statement Tuesday evening saying that New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand have told her they will urge the IJC to lower the lake level and also recruit the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to provide additional resources.
Here's video from our Facebook live feed of Cuomo's Tuesday news conference in Charlotte: