May 10th, 1999
IJC Issues Report on Sir Adam Beck Stations
On April 30, 1999, the International Joint Commission (IJC) published its
regarding potential transboundary impacts of the proposed redevelopment and expansion
of Sir Adam Beck Power Generating Stations on the Niagara River, requested by the U.S.
and Canadian Governments.
The proposed redevelopment project would include water intake facilities at the
Chippawa-Grass Island Pool control structure, two underground tunnels to divert water, a
an underground generating station, penstock tunnels, and a tailrace discharging to the
lower Niagara River. The project will be completed in phases: first, the construction of
one diversion tunnel, and second, the construction of the second tunnel and generating
The IJC concluded that the construction and operation of the full project would not hinder
operation of the Chippawa-Grass Island Pool control structure in accordance with the
current directive governing its operations. The IJC recommended that Governments not
interpose any objections regarding construction of the first phase of the proposed project.
Prudence regarding the uncertain schedule for construction and the potential for further
information to become available led the IJC to recommend that Governments review the
situation in the future prior to construction of the second phase of the proposed project.
Lastly, the IJC recommended that Governments ensure appropriate monitoring and,
should any adverse transboundary effects occur, mitigation.
On December 21, 1998, the Governments of Canada and the United States asked the IJC
to review available information regarding the proposed redevelopment and expansion of
Ontario Hydro's water diversion facilities in the Niagara River, including environmental
effects. The Governments requested the IJC's response within four months.
The IJC asked its International Niagara Board of Control to assist it in reviewing the
proposed redevelopment project and responding to the Governments. The Board also
obtained comments on the proposed redevelopment project from the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The IJC held two public hearings in Niagara Falls, Ontario, and Amherst, New York, to
provide convenient opportunity for all those interested in the proposed project to present
their views and also accepted written submissions prior to and following the hearings.
Under the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909, the IJC provides recommendations to the
U.S. and Canadian Governments upon their request.