A Canadian senator is lobbing barbs across Lake Ontario over criticism of the lake-level regulation known as Plan 2014.
In remarks to that nation's Parliament on Thursday, Bob Runciman, a senator from the province of Ontario, called out New York politicians who have blamed Plan 2014 for the historic high lake levels and ongoing flooding as “fear-mongers.”
He held out Gov. Andrew Cuomo for particular scorn, accusing him of "playing the blame game and spreading falsehoods."
Cuomo and U.S. Rep. Chris Collins, a particularly vociferous critic of Plan 2014, said Thursday afternoon that Runciman was all wet.
Many Rochester-area residents of the Lake Ontario shoreline have blamed Plan 2014, which went into effect in January, for the lake's high water. That cry has been picked up by a number of political leaders in New York in recent weeks.
The plan, developed over a 16-year period, is intended to restore wetlands and animal habitat by allowing the lake level to follow a more natural high-and-low cycle.
But officials who oversee lake-level regulation and other observers say the new plan was not designed to allow the lake to reach the level it has, and could not be blamed for the flooding and erosion that has taken place.
As Runciman put it Thursday in his speech in Parliament, "heavy snow melt and runoff, along with record rainfall in both April and May," were responsible.
Runciman represents a district that includes the Thousand Islands region of the St. Lawrence, which also is suffering from high water this spring. A member of Canada's Conservative Party, he is a longtime politician who has served in the upper house of Parliament in Ottawa since 2010.
Among the U.S. politicians who have spoken out against Plan 2014 are Collins, R-Clarence, U.S. Rep. John Katko, R-Camillus, Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo and Greece Town Supervisor Bill Reilich.
During a visit to Greece on Memorial Day, Cuomo chimed in.
He did not blame Plan 2014, but he was very critical of the International Joint Commission, the U.S.-Canada treaty organization that developed the plan and oversees water-level regulation.
Cuomo said the IJC had committed a “series of blunders” and had used “flawed” methodology in its response to rising lake levels. He said the appointed IJC members should have ensured that more water was let out of the lake over the winter and the early weeks of March, before heavy rains started to fall the following month.