Help victims of Lake Ontario flooding and erosion
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Lake Ontario is experiencing historic floods this spring. More than 11 inches of rain have fallen on western New York since March 1st, causing Lake Ontario to rise to its highest point in more than twenty years. The lake is expected to continue rising for the next several weeks.
As a result, houses along the 712 miles of shoreline of Lake Ontario are being washed away. A mix of primary and vacation homes, these properties are being flooded with lake water and sewage, and the harsh high tides are chipping away at safe banks. I have lost both my land and my deck at my home in Hamlin, NY, and I will probably lose my entire house soon. Essentially, I have a massive, 15'x100'x20' deep sink hole. To make it worse, I pay taxes on the land that I lost, forever. The town doesn’t cut you a break.
Erosion is not covered by my insurance plan, and flood insurance was not offered to me. The same is true for many other New Yorkers. Some people are facing raw, disgusting sewage flooding into their homes. The lake is full, and the excess water has no place to go.
This flooding is due to a mixture of a very wet spring alongside regulatory changes brought by Plan 2014. Plan 2014 made changes to when and how water is released from Lake Ontario to the St. Lawrence river, towards Montreal. Although Plan 2014 was intended to bolster local economies and protect our wetlands, it is currently amplifying the damage done by this historic flood event. Plan 2014 promised $25.2 million in savings on shoreline protection, but all I have is lake, where land once was.
In addition, the pressure of changing climate means that “historic flood” events like these may become more regular. Two of the world’s most expensive natural disasters in 2016 occurred in the US, and both were related to floods (Baton Rouge, LA floods; and floods from Hurricane Matthew).
We, the undersigned, ask that you open up state and federal funds to assist New Yorkers in strengthening our shorelines and rebuilding our homes. Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has already assured Quebec residents that are dealing with these same catastrophic floods on the St. Lawrence river, that the Canadian government will help them rebuild and repair their homes. Please do what’s right and help us rebuild.
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