Summary of the matter addressed in the submission:The Submitters assert that Devils Lake is polluted with biological pollutants (such as algae species and fish parasites) that are alien to Lake Winnipeg, as well as high levels of sulfates, mercury, phosphorus, arsenic, and other pollutants. They contend that the Devils Lake outlet unlawfully allows this pollution to cross the US-Canada border and flow into Lake Winnipeg and other Canadian waters. The Submitters contend that both Canada and the United States have failed to prevent the diversion and resulting cross-border pollution, contrary to Article IV of the Treaty. They assert that both countries failed to effectively enforce Articles IX and X of the Treaty by not referring their dispute over the diversion to the International Joint Commission (IJC), either jointly or unilaterally. They contend that these treaty obligations have the status of statutory obligations under the domestic laws of both countries. The Submitters assert that the failure of both governments to enforce the rights and obligations set out in mandatory language in the Treaty is not a reasonable exercise of discretion. They further contend that the United States' referral of the Devils Lake issues to the US Council on Environmental Quality was not a valid substitute for referral to the binational IJC.
Names and citations of the environmental laws in question:Articles IV, IX and X of the 1909 International Boundary Waters Treaty
Submitter(s):Sierra Legal Defence Fund, on behalf of Friends of the Earth Canada; Friends of the Earth US; People to Save-the-Sheyenne River, Inc.; Thelma Paulson and Gary Pearson D.V.M. of North Dakota; and Claire Sevenhuysen and Lawrence Price of Manitoba