From the Morning Memo:

State Sen. Rob Ortt, a North Tonawanda Republican, has asked the state attorney general to file a lawsuit against the federal government on behalf of people who own property along the Lake Ontario shoreline.

Ortt said that following widespread flooding in 2017, the state appropriated $90 million for recovery efforts while assistance from federal emergency agencies has been nearly non-existent. He said the federal government also signed off on the controversial Plan 2014, which he blames both for the flooding two years ago and the expected repeat this year.

“The federal government must take the blame for the damage the IJC has caused and assist the State of New York in recovery efforts,” the senator said. “The IJC is responsible for Plan 2014, so the onus of assisting New York residents impacted by the flooding shouldn’t fall solely on the State of New York, but the federal government as well.”

The Republican, seemingly derisively, pointed out that Democratic Attorney General Tish James has a “demonstrated interest” in suing the federal government, and certainly hasn’t shied away from doing so since she took office in January.

Following the lead of other state attorneys general, James has focused her efforts on the president and his administration, recently, for example, suing over PCB cleanup in the Hudson River.

While it’s safe to assume Ortt questioned the validity of many of those lawsuits, he said that in the case of Lake Ontario homeowners, he believes litigation is necessary.

The IJC yesterday said Plan 2014, which sets benchmarks for when water in Lake Ontario can be released into the Saint Lawrence River, is not the primary problem for the current situation. But Ortt isn’t buying that.

“By the IJC’s own admission, flooding would worsen under the plan,” he said. “Despite substantial outcry from lakeshore communities and officials, the plan was implemented, and the effects were felt shortly thereafter.”

Ortt said the financial impact goes beyond physical damages to structures, as many communities have again been forced to close down roads, businesses and tourist destinations this season.