The Boundary Waters Treaty: Ahead of Its Time, and Ours
John H. Knox
Wake Forest University - School of Law
March 31, 2009
Wayne Law Review, Vol. 54, 2009
Article IV of the 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty between Canada and the United States, which prohibits harmful transboundary water pollution, foreshadows the prohibition on transboundary environmental harm expressed as Principle 21 of the 1972 Stockholm Declaration. The terms of Article IV and Principle 21 are similar, as is the failure of states to comply with them. Canada and the United States have fallen short of their obligations under Article IV by establishing standards that are more specific but that states need exercise only due diligence to meet, and by failing to apply even these standards to boundary waters other than the Great Lakes. As a result, Article IV seems not only ahead of its time, but ahead of ours as well.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 33
Keywords: water pollution, international environmental law, transboundary harm
JEL Classification: K32, K33Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: April 1, 2009 ; Last revised: October 28, 2009
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