Chris Collins assesses Lake Ontario water levels

Posted at 1:25 PM, Apr 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-25 13:25:14-04

Congressman Chris Collins took a trip to the Newfane Marina Tuesday to assess the damage done by a rising Lake Ontario.

High lake levels are prompting a state of emergency in both Niagara and Orleans counties, and threatening homes and businesses.

During his visit, Collins highlighted his efforts with the Trump Administration to end the International Joint Commissions Plan 2014. This plan was put into effect by former President Obama to help regulate Ontario water levels and restore ecosystem health.

Collins says the damage from the rising water levels in Lake Ontario could have been avoided, calling the Obama Administration's Plan 2014 an "utter disaster." Collins says the focus of the plan wasn't where it needed to be - on the taxpayers.

Taxpayers in Olcott and along Lake Ontario are concerned as water levels are already higher than average, rising over banks and docks. Residents met with Collins behind closed doors to air their frustrations, concerns and demands, hoping they will make it all the way to Washington D.C.

"The property owners here don't know which way to turn," said Collins. "I am going to intercede with the DEC to help the permitting to bring in, maybe put in some break walls and some other defensive actions. But the devastation is real, you've seen it, we're seeing it and this didn't have to be."

"We're fully ready to put our own money into our property, but you know unless I can get a permit that's not going to be possible," said resident Dan Mandaville.

Once the lake crests, residents could be looking at an additional foot of water, an even bigger reason some say permits are needed in order to protect their properties from further erosion.

When Collins was asked if he thinks President Trump will be on board with his plan, Collins said common sense says if a home owner wants to protect their property, why should that not be put in place?