Governor Peter Shumlin of Vermont and Premier of Quebec Jean Charest wrote a joint letter to United States President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to ask for support in discussing how to prevent further flood damage in the future to Lake Champlain and the surrounding communities.
See the letter below.
August 18, 2011
Mr. Barack Obama Mr. Stephen Harper
President of the Prime Minister of Canada
United States of America 80 Wellington Street
The White House Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A2
Washington, DC 20500 CANADA
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Mr. President and Mr. Prime Minister,
During the spring, record rainfall in northeastern Canada and the United States caused Lake Champlain and the Richelieu River to reach unprecedented levels. As a result, hundreds of residents in Québec and Vermont suffered serious material damages and, in some cases, were forced to evacuate their homes.
The governments of Québec and Vermont are currently making considerable efforts to come to the aid of those affected by this disaster and contain the damage.
Looking beyond the present emergency, the tragic circumstances that communities along the Richelieu River and Lake Champlain are experiencing, both in Canada and the United States, should prompt us to analyze the causes of the flooding in order to better prevent flooding in the future, or at least mitigate its most devastating consequences.
As you know, the International Joint Commission, which was established under the Treaty between the United States and Canada relating to boundary waters, and questions arising between the United States and Canada of 1909, is mandated to assist the governments of Canada and the United States in resolving issues pertaining to boundary waters.
In the context of the floods affecting, in Québec and Vermont, the residents along Lake Champlain and the Richelieu River, the International Joint Commission could make an important contribution to our understanding of this phenomenon by producing a study and a report on its causes and identifying possible solutions that would provide governments with guidance for the future.
On behalf of our respective governments, it is in this spirit that we are requesting that the governments of Canada and the United States of America make a referral to the International Joint Commission asking it to establish a special task force on Lake Champlain and the Richelieu River. The governments of Québec and Vermont wish to participate in and collaborate on performing this study.
A study of this nature would help strengthen Canada-U.S. collaboration on environmental issues
and water management. It would also bolster the dynamic regional collaboration that already
exists between Québec and Vermont through the Lake Champlain Basin Program. In this respect,
the Memorandum of Understanding on Environmental Cooperation on the Management of Lake
Champlain among the Government of Québec and the State of Vermont deals with environmental
aspects as well as the lake's water levels, recreational activities, cultural resources and the
economy's vitality. Moreover, issues concerning flooding conditions will be referred to the next
Lake Champlain Steering Committee.
We thank you in advance for your consideration of this request.
Peter Shumlin Jean Charest
Governor of Vermont Premier of Québec