Opinion: Flooding along St. Lawrence River is ‘new normal’, says Ogdensburg resident
Friday, June 7, 2019 - 7:51 am

The 2019 flooding of the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario led Governor Cuomo to use the phrase “The New Normal”. It was quickly picked up by other local officials, local media and even residence that are dealing with the flooding.

At first it infuriated me every time I heard the phrase. How can this be the “new normal”? People have lived along the river and Lake Ontario for decades and never had to deal with the level of flooding that we are currently experiencing and experienced in the spring of 2017.

I started reaching out to my federal, state, and local representatives asking them to get the 2014 Plan repealed and go back to how the river was controlled under the 1958-D plan. To New York Assemblyman Walczyk’s credit he personally called me.

He understood my frustration and indicated that he opposed the 2014 Plan but there was nothing he could do at the state level. Trying to get us financial help to deal with the damage is the best he had to offer. He made me realize that the 2014 Plan was not going away. In reality those of us that live along the river and Lake Ontario are stuck dealing with the “New Normal”.

To understand who the members of the IJC Commission are, I did research into their backgrounds. From what I could find the commission is made up of politicians and environmentalist who want to bring the river back to its natural state. We all know that ship sailed back in the 1950’s when the Robert Moses power dam was built. Regardless the IJC is determined to get the river to a natural state, as they see it, in the name of climate change and the environment.

We are at the mercy of the IJC board members and they will put their desires over us who live along the river and Lake Ontario. In my opinion they look at what is happening to those of us that live along the river and Lake Ontario as collateral damage.

Yes, I am sounding the alarm to all of us impacted by the 2017 and 2019 floods. All we can do is react to the “new normal”. That will be costly for us and may force some to relocate.

It is a hard pill to swallow but expect more of the same over the years to come.

Dick Beaulieu

Ogdensburg