Friday, March 28, 2008

IJC Plan For Regulating Lake Ontario & St. Lawrence River

Mar 28: The International Joint Commission (IJC) of Canada and the United States released for public comment a proposed new Order of Approval and a proposed new plan, called Plan 2007, for regulating the flows through the Moses-Saunders Dam between Cornwall, Ontario and Massena, New York. The regulation affects water levels and flows in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River downstream to Trois-Rivières.

For nearly 50 years, the Commission has regulated levels and flows of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River as far as Trois-Rivières. In addition to the economic benefits from hydroelectric power and the St. Lawrence Seaway, regulation has provided benefits, by reducing the occurrence of extreme high and low water levels, which annually average (in value) $28.5 million to shoreline property owners and $3.5 million to recreational boaters. Plan 2007 would provide $5.5 million in new benefits on average each year.

Irene Brooks, Chair of the U.S. Section of the Commission said, "We are releasing Plan 2007 and a proposed new Order for public comment today because we believe they are the best that can be implemented at this time. The Commission must consider the requirements of the Treaty for protection and indemnification of interests that may be injured by the project. It also must consider the goals of the two federal governments when the project was developed which included providing benefits to Lake Ontario shoreline owners and protecting interests downstream."

A number of organizations issued a joint release saying the plan, "does nothing to end fifty years of documented environmental degradation along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. After more than five years of study funded by $20-million taxpayer dollars, the IJC has the opportunity to select a scientifically-based and publicly supported management plan -- Plan B+ -- which would have delivered significant environmental improvements to the region. Instead, the IJC has turned its back on the Lake and River environment by proposing a plan that continues, and perhaps even worsens, the environmental destruction of the Lake and River. . ."

Access a release from IJC (
click here). Access the complete proposal documents, background and further details (click here). Access a release from the opposing organizations (click here).