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March 28, 2008

Draft new Order and plan for regulation of water levels and flows for Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River proposed by IJC for public comment

Cornwall—The International Joint Commission of Canada and the United States today 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.

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 per year. Plan 2007 would provide $5.5 million in new benefits on average each year.

"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," said Irene Brooks, Chair of the U.S. Section of the Commission.

"We are launching a ninety-day comment period starting today with information sessions and public hearings on the proposed new Order and plan," said Herb Gray, Chair of the Canadian Section of the Commission. "We believe that what we are announcing today is of vital importance to the wellbeing of the 14 million people who live around the system and whose lives are connected with the lake and the river. We want to hear the views of the interested public."

Compared to the current plan (Plan 58-D with deviations), Plan 2007 provides better results for key environmental performance indicators, while maintaining or improving protections for all other interests. The other interests include shoreline property, recreational boating, commercial navigation, hydroelectric power generation and water supply.

It also provides the flexibility to shift from Plan 2007 to a plan with additional environmental improvements whenever adequate mitigation measures could be implemented. Measures that have been implemented elsewhere include enhanced shoreline protection or dredging of harbours. The proposed new Order, for the first time, will regulate flows to benefit the environment and recreational boating along with the other interests named above.

Relevant attached backgrounders include the details about the information sessions and Public Hearings, or go to for more detailed information. See for more detailed information.

The International Joint Commission prevents and resolves disputes between the United States of America and Canada under the 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty and pursues the common good of both countries as an independent and objective advisor to the two governments.

In particular, the Commission rules upon applications for approval of projects affecting boundary or transboundary waters and may regulate the operation of these projects.


Washington Frank Bevacqua 202-736-9024
Ottawa Greg McGillis 613-947-1420

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