The City of Auburn has been waiting on New York to meet with them to discuss updating the rules and regulations for Owasco Lake and its watershed. State Senator Rachel May says part of the problem is a communication breakdown with state departments.
Speaking with Finger Lakes News Radio, the senator for New York’s 48th district said “the Department of Health has to make this decision in conjunction with the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of Agriculture and Markets and we need to get them talking to each other and I think that been part of the problem.”
May adds that, if dialogue doesn’t continue, she’ll try to convene a meeting between the three agencies.
This issue is not unique to Owasco Lake. May says there needs to be a better structure in place for handling issues involving the state’s waterways since, due to the DOH’s prioritization of public health emergencies, water health can be forced to take a backseat, including the health of two other lakes in her district.
“I’m hearing similar things from Cayuga Lake and Skaneateles Lake,” May said, “so we’ve got to get a better structure for how these decisions are going to be made.”
She is grateful for the work done by the various volunteer groups that have been pushing for an update to the rules and regulations, saying their work “set the bar pretty high” for the rest of New York.
Back in February, May secured a guarantee from the health department that talks between them and the city would resume in the coming months; however, the city reported two recent meetings with the department were cancelled.