Originally published by the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
By Steve Orr, December 8, 2016
The new regulatory plan for Lake Ontario water levels, adopted Thursday by a U.S.-Canada treaty organization after 16 long years of study and debate, quickly drew a barrage of comments.
► "Historic achievement." "Plan 2014 represents the largest wetlands restoration effort in the United States outside of the Florida Everglades, and taps the forces of nature to restore 64,000 acres — 100 square miles — of valuable wetlands. The product of decades of research, analysis and public input, the plan balances the needs of shoreline property owners, the environment, the shipping industry, tourists, sportsmen, businesses and more, ensuring every stakeholder will see benefits from this historic achievement." — Support Plan 2014 Coalition.
►"May leave our lakeshore vulnerable." “With the approval of Plan 2014 comes great risk to many of our community’s home and business owners. Under Plan 2014, the higher lake levels may leave our lakeshore vulnerable to substantial flooding and increased erosion, resulting in significant damages to both private properties and public infrastructure. Relying on the last 50 years of lake-level standards, homeowners and businesses along the shore of Lake Ontario have invested their time and money into protecting their properties and Plan 2014 jeopardizes those investments.” — Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo.
►"Potential to endanger." "This plan has extreme potential to endanger the homes and livelihood of the thousands of residents within the town of Greece. I fear for our residents and businesses along the lakeshore not only in Greece but along the entire shoreline. Since the introduction of the proposed Plan 2014, I have been outspoken against its passage." — Greece Town Supervisor Bill Reilich.
►"This doesn't seem fair." "They made this decision without our input and now they're happy with it, but it's for the environment and not the people. They're going to be causing flooding on the south shore, forcing the lake to be higher and that will cause us to be flooded. This doesn't seem fair, it's not fair at all. Isn't our government supposed to protect us? How can anyone with a conscience do this?" — Cheryl Stevens, lakeshore homeowner in Hamlin.
►"Absolutely do harm." “I’m very disappointed in our state and federal representatives and our senators for allowing this to happen. This will absolutely do harm to five or six of the counties on the south shore of Lake Ontario at some point. And doing harm to any stakeholder … was specifically prohibited by the IJC charter." — Dave McDowell, president of Save Our Sodus.
►"Best available science." "Plan 2014’s sustainable water level management plan represents a truly historic opportunity to incorporate the best available science to restore over 60,000 acres of wetland habitat for the benefit of birds and wildlife, including state and federally listed endangered species like the Black Tern and Piping Plover, while improving economic opportunities and shoreline resiliency in both New York and Canada. — Erin Crotty, executive director of Audubon New York
►"Bureaucratic disaster." “If the International Joint Commission thinks for a second that Plan 2014 will ever be fully implemented, they are sorely mistaken. I can guarantee you that I will do everything in my power to protect the taxpayers, homeowners and small businesses along the Lake Ontario shoreline that are set to be devastated by this bureaucratic disaster.” — U.S. Rep. Chris Collins, R-Clarence, Erie County.
► "Incredibly disappointed." “I am incredibly disappointed with today’s announcement that Plan 2014 will move forward. Despite the last-ditch actions taken by the administration today, I will continue to work with all levels of government — including the incoming administration — as well as stakeholders and community members to pursue every possible course to ensure that our shoreline is protected and to mitigate the impact of this decision.” — U.S. Rep. John Katko, R-Camillus, Onondaga County.
►"Revitalize our environment." “Plan 2014 will protect and preserve some of upstate New York’s greatest assets — Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River and hundreds of miles of shoreline. We are grateful for this international, bipartisan decision to revitalize our environment and enhance the quality of life for all the people who live along the lake and river.” — Jim Howe, director, Nature Conservancy of Western and Central New York.
► "Critical to our economic growth." “Plan 2014 is critical to our local economic growth in addition to good environmental policy, and I applaud this important decision. Better regulating the water levels of the St. Lawrence will ensure that users — from boaters to commercial fisherman — can continue to enjoy the river. Lowering the impact of invasive species will ensure that outdoor recreationists can enjoy the river for decades to come. — U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro, Essex County.
►"Immense benefits." “Today we say goodbye to the antiquated plan from last century, and welcome a modern, balanced plan that will provide immense benefits to the health of the lake and river and the people that depend upon them. Plan 2014 is a historic achievement that will provide unparalleled environmental benefits to the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River watershed. We applaud the U.S. and Canadian governments for seizing this once-in-a-generation opportunity to restore the health of our lake and river.” — Brian Smith, associate executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment.