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On June 15, 2004, the International Joint Commission (IJC) appointed the International Missisquoi Bay Task Force. The four-member Task Force, with equal representation from the United States and Canada, examined and reported to the IJC on questions regarding possible transboundary implications of the Alburg-Swanton Bridge, which crosses the waters connecting Missisquoi Bay with the rest of Lake Champlain in the State of Vermont.

By letters dated May 7, 2004 and May 11, 2004, respectively, the Canadian and United States federal governments asked the International Joint Commission (IJC) to review plans by the State of Vermont to modernize the Alburg-Swanton Bridge, involving the partial removal of the existing causeway, and to provide advice on whether this complies with the terms of the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 as concerns causing pollution to the injury of health or property in Canada or the United States. The residents of the region have expressed great concern with regards to the quality of the water and people's health.

The request from governments was made as a reference under Article IX of the Boundary Waters Treaty. While further discussions between the IJC and the governments may refine the issues to be examined, the governments asked that the IJC review consider the following matters:

  1. Whether the original causeway in the United States affects water levels/flows in Canada;
  2. Whether the original causeway in the United States causes pollution to the injury of health or property in Canada;
  3. Whether the removal of the original causeway in the United States might cause pollution to the injury of health or property in the United States; and
  4. Whether the proposed project in the United States will cause pollution to the injury of health or property in Canada.

The members of the International Missisquoi Bay Task Force were:

Gerald C. Potamis, P.E. (Co-Chair)
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Region 1
Madeleine Papineau (Co-Chair)
Environment Canada
Environmental Conservation Branch
Eric Smeltzer
Vermont Agency of Natural Resources
Water Quality Division
Martin Mimeault
Quebec Ministry of Environment
Direction régionale de l’analyse et de l’expertise de l’Estrie et de la
Montérégie

The Task Force submitted its report to the International Joint Commission on October 20, 2004.

The Commission issued its final report, "Transboundary Impacts of the Missisquoi Bay Causeway and the Missisquoi Bay Bridge Project" on March 31, 2005.

These and other publications may be downloaded from the Publications section of the International Missisquoi Bay Task Force Web site.

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