Encouraging Signs From New IJC Chair Appointee…New Appointees Await Senate Confirmation

September 9, 2018 10:44 am Published by

Marcus Wolf

Watertown Daily News

By MARCUS WOLF

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 29, 2018

 

President Donald J. Trump’s nominee for the International Joint Commission chairperson position wants to re-examine Plan 2014 after last year’s record flooding along Lake Ontario.

The president announced his intention to nominate former New York assemblywoman Jane L. Corwin as chairwoman of the U.S. section of the commission and Robert C. Sisson, Michigan, and Lance V. Yohe, North Dakota, as commissioners on Tuesday. If the U.S. Senate confirms them, they would replace chairwoman Lana Pollack and commissioner Rich Moy and fill one vacant seat on the U.S. side.

“I’m of the view that we should go back and review the method of study” for Plan 2014, said Ms. Corwin, seasonal resident of Clarence, Erie County.

The International Joint Commission is a binational organization with three U.S. officials and three Canadian officials tasked with regulating the shared uses of the bodies of water in both countries, including water levels and flow, and investigating transboundary issues.

The organization initiated Plan 2014 to return the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario to more natural flows patterns and restore wetlands and wildlife populations.

Ms. Corwin, who served as 144th district assemblywoman from 2009 to 2016, said while the plan accounted for severe weather, the weather last year was much more severe than anticipated with heavy rainfall and flooding along waterfront communities. She also argued that if the commission had engaged communities sooner in reviewing the plan, the organization would not have implemented the plan so soon.

The commission introduced the plan and began public hearings for it in 2013 and approved it in 2016, although work that led to its development began decades ago.

If the Senate approves her nomination, Ms. Corwin said she would direct the Great Lakes Science Advisory Board to reexamine the plan and engage communities sooner.

“The most important thing is to base decisions on science,” she said. “There’s no quick, easy fix, I believe, to Plan 2014.”

Ms. Corwin said she served on the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee throughout her eight-year tenure, including the years officials developed Plan 2014. Before retiring, she worked for her family’s company, the Talking Phone Book, and as director of Gibraltar Industries.

In another recent interview in the Palladium Times, Corwin said if her nomination is confirmed by the U.S. Senate, she’ll use the “wonderful opportunity” to fight to preserve the International Joint Commission’s (IJC) independence from political influences. “Nobody is going to pressure me to move one way or the other,” said Corwin. “We’ll make recommendations based on what the science tells us is important and what will benefit the people of the United States and Canada.”

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