Title: International Commissions
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/WL00003096/00001
 Material Information
Title: International Commissions
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publisher: President's Water Resources Policy Commission
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
Abstract: Richard Hamann's Collections - International Commissions
General Note: Box 12, Folder 9 ( Water Resources Law - Vol #3 - 1950 ), Item 14
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: WL00003096
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Holding Location: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text

The 1899 Act also provides authority for the Secretary to
remove sunken vessels obstructing or endangering navigation,
iftsuch obstruction has existed for a longer period than 30
days, or whenever the abandonment of such obstruction can
be legally established in a lesser space of time.0 In emergency
cases of serious interference with navigation, immediate pos-
session and removal or destruction of the craft may be under-
LOGs AND TIMBER.-The 1899 Act also makes it unlawful to
float loose timber and logs or "sack rafts of timber and logs"
in streams actually navigated by steamboats in such a manner
as to "obstruct, impede, or endanger navigation." In the
following year, this prohibition was made inapplicable where
the floating of loose timber and logs and sack rafts "is: the
principal method of navigation," and such navigation was made
subject to regulations to be prescribed by the Secretary."

International Commissions
In connection with certain boundary waters between the
United States and Canada and between the United States and
Mexico, relevant provisions of law so differ from those con-
sidered thus far as to make desirable their separate considera-
between the United States and Canada, the International Joint
Commission has, among others, certain duties and responsibili-
ties relating to navigation. It was created by the 1909 treaty
between the United States and Great Britain, the purpose of
which was:2" 2
to prevent disputes regarding the use of boundary
waters and to settle all questions which are now pending
SAct of March 3, 1899, 1 19, 30 Stat. 1121, 1154 38 U. 5. 0C 414.
8 20,30 Stat. 1154, 33 U. S. C. 415.
1 1, 180 Stat. 1152, 3 U. S C. 409.
rAct of May 9, 1900, 1 1, 81 Stat. 172, 83 U. S. C.r410.
3 86 Stat. 2448. The Commission consists of six members, three repre-
senting the United States and three representing Cainda.

between the United States And the Dominion of Canada
involving the rights, obligations,. or interests of either
in relation to the other or to the inhabitants of the
other, along their common frontier, and to make provi-
sion for the adjustment and settlement of all such ques-
tions as may hereafter arise *
The interests of navigation are encompassed by the Com-
mission's jurisdiction which includes authority to approve the
use, obstruction, or diversion of boundary waters, and the
construction or maintenance of remedial or protective works
or dams or other obstructions in waters flowing from boundary
waters or in waters at a lower level than the boundary in rivers
flowing across the boundary, the effect of which is to raise the
natural level of waters on the other side of the boundary.2
The Commission must observe the following order of prece-
dence in the exercise of the foregoing authority: 26
(1) Uses for domestic and sanitary purposes;
(2) Uses for navigation, including the service of canals for
the purposes of navigation;
(3) Uses for power -and irrigation purposes.
Either Government may refer to the Commission, for inves-
tigation andreport, matters of difference arising between them
involving the rights, obligations, and interests of either in rela-
tion to the other or to the inhabitants of the other along the
common frontier 2 Similarly, with consent of both Govern-
ments, like matters may be referred to the Commission for
STATES AND MEXICO -The principal duties and responsibilities
of this agency relate to flood control and irrigation, and will be
discussed later.2,
"'Arts; 'II, IV, 36 Stat. 2449-2450.
Art. VIII, 36 Stat. 2451.
Art. IX, 36 Stat. 2452.
m Art. X, 36 Stat. 2458.
m"See infra, pp. 148-149, 480-481. The Commission is composed of a
Commissioner and a .Cnshlting Engineer appointed for each Government
by its President, together With their staffs. Convention of March 1, 1889,
Art, II, 26 Stat. 1512 1518.'

However, it should be noted here that, in addition to examin-
ing and deciding differences arising on the boundary portions
of the Rio Grande and Colorado River, the Commission also
has responsibilities concerning the construction of projects.
Under the Treaty of February 3, 1944, between the United
States and Mexico, the following order of preference is pre-
scribed as a guide in matters in which the Commission may be
called upon to make provision for joint use of international
waters: 20
1. Domestic and municipal uses.
2. Agriculture and stock raising.
3. Electric power.
4. Other industrial uses.
5. Navigation.
6. Fishing and hunting.
7. Any other beneficial uses which may be determined by
the Commission.

Navigation has always been a principal use of navigable
waters. Exercising its extensive authority over commerce in
the interests bf navigation, Congress has enacted numerous
laws concerning the use, improvement, and protection of navi-
gable waters.
Us.---Domestic transportation by water has been a matter
of national concern from the beginning of our history. To
assure free transportation use, tolls have long been prohibited
at federal navigation works and at nonfederal works approved
by the Secretary of the Army. Congress has also declared a
policy that municipally owned terminals be provided at harbors
or navigable waters. Provision is made for collection of statis-
tics on water-borne commerce.
In addition, many laws provide for navigation aids and
rules. An example is the establishment by the Coast Guard
of lighthouses, buoys, lights, radio beacons, and radio direction-
finder stations.
"Art. 3, 59 Stat. 1219, 1225.

Also, jurisdiction has been conferred upon the Interstate
Commerce Commission, with specified exceptions, over water
carriers engaged in transportation i interstate or foreign com-
merce, extending to their rates, service, intercarrier rela-
tions, and ancillary matters. Noteworthy is the exemption,
among others, for the transportation of commodities in bulk.
In general, the regulatory scheme for water carriers is similar
to that provided for rail and motor carriers. A national trans-
portation policy adopted by Congress in 1940 governs admin-
istration of the Interstate Commerce Act as it applies to all
After almost a century of federal navigation improvements,
the Federal Government in 1918 began a limited commercial
operation of boats and facilities by the Inland Waterways Cor-
poration on the Mississippi, Warrior, Illinois, and Missouri
IMPROVEMENT.-Since 1824, the Federal Government has de-
voted increasing attention to navigation improvements. This
work has always been prosecuted by the Army Engineers. In
preparing for projects, examinations and surveys are under-
taken pnly upon express congressional authorization. Under
an important general authorization in 1927-the basis for the
"308 Reports-there have been completed surveys of almost
200 waterways for the purpose of developing general plans of
improvement of navigation in combination with the develop-
ment of water power, control of floods, and needs of irriga-
tion. Maiy laws specify the data to be included in examina-
tion and survey reports. Others provide for cooperation with
other agencies and with the states in preparing for projects.
Provision has been made for review of all reports by the Board
of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors.
Like examinations and surveys, projects may be undertaken
only when authorized by Congress, but a number of laws in
the nature of continuing authorizations provide for various
types of work. A number of these also enable some discretion
in the use of funds. General congressional practice is to appro-
priate annually lump sums for the prosecution of authorized
projects. While the Federal Government bears the bulk of


expense, local interests specially benefited are required to make
Other statutes govern the prosecution and operation of
projects. As to the latter, express provision is made for multi-
ple uses. Thus, the Secretary of the Interior is authorized to
dispose of surplus power and water for irrigation at Army
reservoir projects. Similarly, the Secretary of the Army has
authority to dispose of surplus water for domestic and indus-
trial uses, and may provide recreation facilities at reservoir
areas. The Fish and Wildlife Service may use such areas for
wildlife conservation. Dams may be used as foundations for
highway bridges. In the case of certain projects in the West,
Congress has subordinated navigation use to beneficial con-
sumptive uses.
PROTECTION.-In addition -to the foregoing provisions, Con-
gress has legislated to protect and preserve navigable waters.
These laws govern the construction, maintenance, operation
and removal of structures, the deposit of refuse matter, and
other protective measures.
INTERNATIONAL WATERS.-In the case of certain interna-
tional waters, provision has been made for international com-
missions having specified responsibilities concerning navigation,
among other uses.

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