OSWEGO, NY – The Oswego County Legislature voiced its opposition Thursday night to the International Joint Commission’s plan (BV7) to regulate water levels on Lake Ontario. It wasn’t a unified voice, however.
After a lengthy debate, the vote was split along party lines.
The resolution was sent to the legislature from the Economic Development and Planning Committee earlier in the evening.
It wasn’t the same resolution that had been tabled at the regular committee meeting and earmarked to return to the full legislature on June 14, Legislator Mike Kunzwiler pointed out.
After a recess of several minutes, the resolution was withdrawn by Legislator Louella LeClair, committee chair, and then properly reintroduced on the floor.
Kunzwiler said the legislators should consider all the available information regarding the plan.
“I’ve received 50 to 60 pages of reports in the last two or three days saying we should support the plan,” he said. But, we are putting this out; where is that going to leave us?”
“Is this data legitimate? We don’t know. We’re going back and forth with these documents, whose is right and whose is wrong?” he continued. “The right thing to do would be take this thing and put it back on the shelf where it belongs until there are more facts out there.”
Fred Beardsley, chairman of the legislature, pointed out that the resolution, in part, urges the IJC to “immediately enact a moratorium on any further proposals to modify the range of water levels on the lake until the completion of a thorough, objective and all-inclusive analysis of the potential economic damages on tourism, recreation, business and residences along the south shore of the lake…”
“In essence, what this resolution is saying is we are asking them to go back and take a better look,” he said.
“In opposing the BV7 plan what we are doing is providing feedback to the Joint Commission,” Legislator Jack Proud explained. “So that they may further consider this plan. We’re rejecting the current plan that they have and we’re saying take this back, look it over and make some corrections and then, resubmit a plan back that people can live with.”
“Now that we have the parliamentary aspects of this moved out of the way,” he continued. “I see no need for us to further confuse the issue by not putting this resolution into affect and sending that message to the Joint Commission. Oswego County wants more information.”
Legislator Shawn Doyle said he supported the resolution because it addressed issues that were important to people along the eastern Lake Ontario region.
The plan would damage property, it will impact property values and affect the very sensitive dune system along the eastern shore, he pointed out.
Legislator Art Ospelt called the question; it was seconded and approved, ending the debate.
Kunzwiler took umbrage at the move to “stifle” the discussion.