QUÉBEC AND VERMONT SIGN AN AGREEMENT CONCERNING PHOSPHORUS REDUCTION IN MISSISQUOI BAY
Québec City, August 26, 2002 – Today, in Québec City, the Minister of State for Municipal Affairs and Greater Montréal, Environment and Water, André Boisclair, and the Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources of the State of Vermont, Scott Johnstone, signed the Agreement between the Gouvernement du Québec and the Government of the State of Vermont concerning phosphorus reduction in Missisquoi Bay.
Québec and Vermont share a common frontier in Missisquoi Bay and its watershed and, for some years now, deteriorating water quality has caused problems, particularly in the summer. Part of Lake Champlain, Missisquoi Bay is a major vacation destination and the drinking water intake of two municipalities: Bedford and the Philipsburg sector of Saint-Armand.
Since 1988, various environmental cooperation agreements had been signed in order to clean up Lake Champlain, but there was need for further action. "This agreement between the Québec and Vermont governments is an important step in the efforts to reduce phosphorus in Missisquoi Bay. The agreement is the first to define responsibility-sharing concerning the total phosphorus load to the Missisquoi Bay watershed, namely 40% for Québec and 60% for Vermont", pointed out Minister Boisclair.
"This agreement is fundamental to our hability to clean-up Lake Champlain", said Mr. Johnstone, the Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources of the State of Vermont. "By agreeing on how much clean up we are each responsible for, we now have a means to gauge our progress and this give the public that same tool. Working together Québec and Vermont, Lake Champlain will be clean again!"
Via this agreement, the two governments commit to reduce by 70.1 metric tons per year the phosphorus loads to Missisquoi Bay by the year 2016 and to reporting on their progress towards attaining the mutually agreed upon target goals. In both Québec and in Vermont, a body will be responsible for acting as the liaison for the implementation of the terms of the agreement. At the Ministère de l'Environnement, the Direction régionale de la Montérégie will be designated to do so.
The main source of phosphorus affecting the waters of the Missisquoi Bay is of agricultural origin. One of the assets of Québec in this fight is the Regulation respecting agricultural operations, which will allow better control of phosphorus found in the ground, and consequently, better control of phosphorus emissions into rivers and lakes.
Finally, Minister Boisclair stressed the involvement of citizens and the Missisquoi Bay watershed management group and encouraged them to continue: "Their help will be most valuable in helping us meet this challenge."
Vermont is one of Québec’s six US partners in the Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers, whose members already collaborate on multilateral environmental action plans designed to fight acid rain, reduce mercury emissions and offset the effects of climatic change.
- 30 -