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State asks $50 million in damages in revised lawsuit over Lake Ontario flooding

The state Attorney General's Office has filed a revised lawsuit against the International Joint Commission, seeking more than $50 million in reimbursement for expenses incurred by all state agencies in responding to flooding and erosion damage caused by high water in Lake Ontario in 2017 and this year.

The original lawsuit, announced by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo Oct. 9, listed only the Department of Environmental Conservation as a plaintiff. The new suit, filed in State Supreme Court in Monroe County, was filed simply by the State of New York.

The suit alleges that the IJC's lake management "prioritized the interests of the shipping industry before the interests of Lake Ontario riparian property owners, whose homes and businesses were submerged for the second time in three years."

The IJC, a binational agency that regulates the Great Lakes, asserts that it is protected from lawsuits by a 1945 federal law and a 1948 executive order. The state, however, contends there's an exception that allows its lawsuit.

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