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The Boundary Waters Treaty: Ahead of Its Time, and Ours

Wayne Law Review, Vol. 54, 2009

33 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2009 Last revised: 28 Oct 2009

John H. Knox

Wake Forest University - School of Law

Date Written: March 31, 2009

Abstract

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.

Keywords: water pollution, international environmental law, transboundary harm

JEL Classification: K32, K33

Suggested Citation

Knox, John H., The Boundary Waters Treaty: Ahead of Its Time, and Ours (March 31, 2009). Wayne Law Review, Vol. 54, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1371209

John H. Knox (Contact Author)

Wake Forest University - School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 7206
Winston-Salem, NC 27109
United States

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