Agreement Resolves Issues Around Seaway Opening
June 29, 2006
Cornwall, June 29, 2006 – A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed identifying procedures to be followed prior to the annual opening of navigation on the Seaway. The agreement between the Canadian and U.S. Seaway Corporations, their respective Governments, and the Mohawks of Akwesasne resolves a dispute that had been before the courts at various junctures and fosters a new level of transparency, mutual respect and dialogue between the Seaway Corporations and the Mohawks.
Among various points, the MOU defines the process to exchange information prior to the establishment of an opening date for navigation by the Seaway Corporations and the requirement to notify the Akwesasne Mohawks of any ice-breaking activities related to the opening. It also establishes a 3-year joint observational study concerning the impact of ice-breaking activities, and defines additional steps that would be necessary in the event that the Seaway Corporations were to open the navigation season before March 15th, or keep the season open beyond January 10th.
The opening of the Seaway’s 48th navigation season in March of this year consolidated a number of information exchanges and led to a heightened sense of cooperation as discussions unfolded, culminating in the signing of the MOU. Upon signing the agreement, Richard Corfe, President and CEO of the Canadian St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC), reflected “we are conscious of the fact that we share a great resource and, as joint stewards, we serve many diverse interests. The SLSMC is committed to working with our partners to ensure that the St. Lawrence Seaway is maintained and developed in a manner that is both economically sound and environmentally sustainable”.
Since its inception in 1959, over 2.3 billion tonnes of cargo valued at over $285 billion has moved via the Seaway. As a vital artery for transportation that enables domestic and international trade, a popular recreational area, and home to millions of residents along its shores, the St. Lawrence Seaway system serves a diverse range of communities and businesses on both sides of the Canada / U.S. border.