Stalled international diplomacy flows through Lake K mining contamination

Joshua Murdock

The answer to ongoing water contamination flowing into Montana from Canadian coal mines could hide in a treaty signed back in 1909. 

But it’s unclear if the Canadian government will participate in such diplomacy. 

A bi-national watershed board could resolve long-running concerns over selenium contamination from open-pit coal mines in British Columbia that flows into the U.S. via Lake Koocanusa. The International Joint Commission, created by the 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty between the United States and Canada, exists mainly to address disputes over contamination flowing between two countries that share a continental border riddled with lakes, rivers and reservoirs.

The commission also brokers arrangements to manage water levels on dammed transnational waterways (such as the Koocanusa reservoir). The body seats six commissioners, three from each nation, all of whom are sworn to uphold the 113-year old treaty. 

People are also reading…

Teck Resources’ Line Creek Operations mine sits along West Line Creek east of the Hornaday Mountains near Sparwood, British Columbia. Selenium from waste rock leeches into runoff water flowing over and through waste rock

View Source