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International Joint Commission
United States and Canada

MEDIA RELEASE
For Release: August 11, 2004

International Joint Commission to hold public meetings
about Missisquoi Bay

The International Joint Commission and its International Missisquoi Bay Task Force will be holding public information meetings in Saint-Georges-de-Clarenceville, Quebec and Swanton/Highgate,Vermont during the last week of August to discuss the work that they are doing to assess the transboundary water quality effects of the Missisquoi Bay causeway.

In May of this year, the Canadian and United States federal governments asked the Commission 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 Article IV of the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 which states that "...boundary waters and waters flowing across the boundary shall not be polluted on either side to the injury of health or property on the other".

In June, the Commission appointed the International Missisquoi Bay Task Force to help it carry out this request. Since that time, the task force has been reviewing available information and has been developing plans to complete its work by early fall 2004.

United States Commissioner Allen Olson said that "the Commissioners and task force members agreed that it would be particularly helpful to invite public comment at this time while the work of the task force is under way. This will help assure that important issues are not overlooked."

The meetings will be held at the following times and locations:

  • Wednesday, August 25, 2004 at 7:00 pm at Centre des Loisirs – 1 rue Tourangeau in Saint-Georges-de-Clarenceville, Quebec, and
  • Thursday, August 26, 2004 at 6:00 pm at Missisquoi Valley Union High School Gymnasium, Rt. 78 in Swanton/Highgate, Vermont.

The Right Honourable Herb Gray, Chair of the Canadian Section of the Commission noted that "following the completion of the Task Force’s work the Commission will be back in the Missisquoi Bay area to hold public hearings before it submits its report and recommendations the governments of the United States and Canada."

The International Joint Commission is an international Canada-United States organization established by the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909. It assists the governments in managing waters along the border for the benefit of both countries in a variety of ways including examining issues referred to it by the two federal governments.

More information, including the full text of the governments’ letters of reference, may be found on the Commission’s web site, at www.ijc.org.

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Canada Nick Heisler (613) 992-8367
United States Frank Bevacqua (202) 736-9024
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