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MEDIA RELEASE

Release date: July 14th, 2000

Funding passes for Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Study

 

President Bill Clinton yesterday signed a Fiscal Year 2000 supplemental spending package, passed by the Congress on June 30, which provides funding for the International Joint Commission (IJC) to begin its study of water levels and flows in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. The $2.15 million appropriation provides for the U.S; share of first year costs of the five-year study, which will be funded by the United States and Canada. The Canadian Section of the IJC is currently seeking funding from the Canadian Government.

"We commend Congressman John McHugh and Congresswoman Louise Slaughter and their Great Lakes Congressional colleagues for their leadership in setting this study in motion, as well as the citizens living on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River for advocating the effort," said IJC U.S. Section Chair Thomas L. Baldini.

In April 1999, the IJC had informed the governments of Canada and the United States that it was becoming increasingly urgent to review the regulation of Lake Ontario outflows in view of dissatisfaction, on the part of some interests, with the working of that system and in light of environmental concerns and climate change issues. The IJC transmitted a detailed Plan of Study to the governments of the United States and Canada in October 1999 and requested the governments' assistance in securing the approximately $20 million (U.S.) needed to carry out the work.

It has been nearly 50 years since a comprehensive assessment was performed of water levels and flows regulation in the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River system. However, the IJC recognizes that the study may not resolve all the issues or result in significant additional benefits for any interest group.

Initial efforts will focus on gathering data needed for technical analyses and on involving the public in the study.

The International Joint Commission was created under the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 to help prevent and resolve disputes over the use of waters along the Canada-United States boundary. Its responsibilities include approving certain projects that would change the natural levels and flows of boundary waters, such as the international hydropower project at Massena, New York and Cornwall, Ontario. If it approves a project, the IJC's Orders of Approval may require that the flows through the project meet certain conditions to protect the interests in both countries. For more information, please visit the IJC's web site at www.ijc.org.

Contacts:
Frank Bevacqua Washington, D.C. (202) 736-9024

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