NY ag commissioner: Experts, not elected officials, should drive Owasco Lake changes

New York State Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard Ball believes local elected officials aren’t the best people to be driving changes to Owasco Lake’s watershed rules.

Speaking with The Citizen Monday after an address to the New York State Grange annual session in Auburn, Ball talked about water quality in the Finger Lakes and Owasco Lake in particular. Considering Cayuga County’s work to update the rules and regulations of the lake’s watershed, Ball said he would support “clear thinking” and “measurable steps,” but called on local officials to rely on their county soil and water conservation districts for such efforts.

“I’d rather see the soil and water conservation people, who understand the issue fully, are trained and educated about the issue, rather than a nice group of people that just got elected, try to come up with criteria,” Ball said. “(This) is why we have our soil and water conservation districts. They’re a great resource. They do a great job for us. We need to empower them.”

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