Volume #20 - 609.|
RELATIONS WITH THE UNITED STATES
INTERNATIONAL JOINT COMMISSION
POLLUTION OF BOUNDARY WATERS
Memorandum from Secretary of State for External Affairs|
CABINET DOCUMENT NO. 150-54|
June 9th, 1954|
POLLUTION OF RAINY RIVER IN THE VICINITY OF INTERNATIONAL FALLS,|
MINNESOTA, AND FORT FRANCIS, ONTARIO
In Note No. 204 dated April 9, 1954,? the Ambassador of the United States of America informed the Secretary of State for External Affairs that representations have been made to the United States Government alleging that the Rainy River in the vicinity of International Falls, Minnesota, and Fort Francis, Ontario, is being polluted by industrial wastes from a neighbouring plant, with ruinous effects on fish life and the use of the stream for fishing. Pollution of this nature is contrary to the provisions of Article IV of the Boundary Waters Treaty signed January 11, 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 side. 170 The United States Ambassador therefore suggested that a reference should be made to the International Joint Commission under Article IX of the Boundary Waters Treaty of January 11, 1909, directing the Commission to make a thorough investigation of the matter and to submit a report to the two Governments with recommendations of remedial measures which might be taken to eliminate the pollution of this river.
2. It is proposed by the Government of the United States that the reference to the Commission by both Governments should be in the same terms as the Reference of April 1, 1946 171 which concerned pollution of the waters of the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River and which was later extended to include waters of the St. Mary's River from Lake Superior to Lake Huron and the waters of the Niagara River from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario), substituting the words "Rainy River" for the names of all the waters mentioned in the earlier Reference. A copy of the Reference with the suggested substitution is attached as Appendix A.
3. The results of the investigations made by the Commission under the earlier Reference into the pollution of these boundary waters were set forth in a report dated October 11, 1950, in which remedial measures were recommended. 172 Both Governments accepted the recommendations and charged the Commission with their implementation.
4. The Secretary of State for External Affairs, with the concurrence of the Minister of National Health and Welfare and the Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources, recommends that if the Government of the Province of Ontario agrees, the United States Ambassador be informed that the Canadian Government concurs in the suggestion of his Government that a reference in the sense of the attached draft concerning pollution of Rainy River be forwarded to the Inter- national Joint Commission. 173
I have the honour to advise you that the Governments of the United States and Canada have been informed that the waters of the Rainy River are being polluted by sewage and industrial wastes emptied into these waters. Having in mind the provisions of Article IV of the Boundary Waters Treaty signed January 11, 1909, 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 side, the two Governments have agreed upon a joint Reference of the provisions of Article IX of the said Treaty. The Commission is requested to inquire into and to report to the two Governments upon the following questions:
(1) Are the waters referred to in the preceding paragraph actually being polluted on either side of the boundary to the injury of health or property on the other side of the boundary?
(2) If the foregoing question is answered in the affirmative, to what extent, by what causes, and in what localities is such pollution taking place?
(3) If the Commission should find that pollution of the character just referred to is taking place, what measures for remedying the situation would, in its judgment, be most practicable from the economic, sanitary and other points of view?
(4) If the Commission should find that the construction or maintenance of remedial or preventive works is necessary to render the waters sanitary and suitable for domestic and other uses, it should indicate the nature, location, and extent of such works, and the probable cost thereof, and by whom and in what proportions such cost should be borne.
For the purpose of assisting the Commission in making the investigation and recommendations provided for in this Reference, the two Governments will, upon request, make available to the Commission the services of engineers and other specially qualified personnel of their governmental agencies, and such information and technical data as may have been acquired by such agencies or as may be acquired by them during the course of the investigation.
The Commission should submit its report and recommendations to the two Governments as soon as practicable.
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