On Friday, March 13 the Watertown Daily Times printed this letter from Save The River.
On behalf of Save the River, the Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper, and our 1,000 members and 15,000 followers, I commend the Watertown Daily Times for your excellent March 6 editorial “Pander with immunity: Congressmen propose legislation so residents can sue the IJC.” It speaks clearly and directly to an issue that is very important to Save the River as well as riparians and business owners along the Upper St. Lawrence River.
People who actually examine the facts of the matter know that the unfortunate timing of the implementation of Plan 2014 coincided with the beginning of a cycle of years of extreme high-water levels caused by five years of record precipitation throughout the Great Lakes and Ottawa River basins. Save the River applauds your taking a stand against the legislation that would allow residents to sue the International Joint Commission over Plan 2014.
One of the key strengths of Plan 2014 is the inclusion of an adaptive management review process being managed by the Great Lakes Adaptive Management committee. The committee has finally received the additional funding necessary to accelerate its work. We believe that the GLAM committee should be encouraged to perform its review as rapidly as possible, taking into account comments from all stakeholders.
It is our understanding that the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board has been deviating from Plan 2014 to allow a higher outflow from the Moses-Saunders Dam that would have been allowed under the prior 1958DD plan. This is being done to bring as much relief as possible to shoreline owners and businesses serving the people living along the river and Lake Ontario. Further, the IJC and ILOSLRB have publicly stated their intentions regarding a later start to shipping in 2020.
The River and Lake Ontario shoreline communities listen to your paper when you stand up against these ill-conceived bills that will take resources away from finding ways to improve Plan 2014. Lawsuits such as the ones proposed by U.S. Reps. Anthony Brindisi and John Katko and Gov. Andrew Cuomo will be costly, time consuming and counterproductive in bringing any improvements to the water levels management process. Our legislators should be using their time and our resources to support the IJC and ILOSLRB’s efforts to get water out of the system now and urge the same agencies to accelerate the work of the GLAM committee.