IJC public hearings to examine impacts of peaking and
St. Marys River Date: Fri, 21 Dec 2001 12:36:12 -0500
The International Joint Commission (IJC) will hold public
hearings in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan and Sault Ste.
Marie, Ontario to gather information about the impacts
of peaking and ponding operations in the St. Marys River.
Peaking and ponding operations are carried out by the
Edison Sault Electric Company and Great Lakes Power Limited
to store water during times of off-peak demand and increase
hydroelectric power generation during times of on-peak
demand. Peaking is the variation of hourly flows within
the daily average flow while ponding is the variation
of daily flows within the weekly average flow (i.e. higher
weekday flows and lower weekend flows).
The two power entities are authorized to use water from
the St. Marys River by the IJC's Orders of Approval,
which contain provisions to protect interests in both
countries that may be affected by changes in natural
water levels and flows. Outflows from Lake Superior are
set on a monthly basis by the IJC-approved regulation
plan, Plan 1977A, under the oversight of the IJC's International
Lake Superior Board of Control.
The current low water situation, and recent inquiries
concerning navigation and environmental impacts, have
drawn the IJC's attention to the conduct of peaking and
ponding operations in the St. Marys River. The IJC has
advised the power entities that the IJC's Orders of Approval,
as amended, and Plan 1977A, do not authorize deviations
from the monthly regulation-plan flow, and do not authorize
peaking and ponding operations. Nevertheless, the IJC
has provided temporary authority to the power entities
to conduct peaking and ponding operations until March
20, 2002, under the supervision of the
International Lake Superior Board of Control.
The IJC has asked its International Lake Superior Board
of Control to review the current situation and recommend
whether peaking and ponding operations in the St. Marys
River should continue, and if so, under what circumstances.
The public hearings are intended to provide information
that may be useful to the Board in preparing its report.
Public hearings will take place at the following times
3:00 p.m., January 28, 2001
Walker Cisler Center Lake Ontario Room Lake Superior
University Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan
7:00 p.m., January 28, 2001
Holiday Inn Waterfront Room: Thompson A & B 208 St.
Mary's River Dr. Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
The IJC also intends to provide a public briefing in
the Sault Ste. Marie area after it has received the report
of its International Lake Superior Board of Control and
made a decision with regard to peaking and ponding.
The International Joint Commission is an international
organization established by the Boundary Waters Treaty
of 1909 to prevent and resolve disputes over the use
of waters shared by the United States and Canada. More
information is available on the IJC's website at: www.ijc.org
Frank Bevacqua Washington (202) 736-9024 Fabien Lengellé
Ottawa (613) 995-0088