Calling for renegotiation

The cross-border treaty for the Columbia River should be renegotiated recommends a draft report from U.S. regulators.

The cross-border treaty for the Columbia River should be renegotiated recommends a draft report from U.S. regulators.

The Columbia River Treaty between Canada and the U.S. should be re written to make the system more flexible amid climate change, and to aid endangered species, the report said.

The agreement, signed in 1961, led to the flooding of the once agriculturally-rich Columbia Valley, while four dams—the Duncan Dam, Mica Dam and Keenleyside Dam in Canada, and the Libby Dam in the U.S.—were built.

When it was signed, the treaty was designed to address downstream flooding and optimize hydropower generation.

The treaty governs everything from power prices and water supplies on the continent’s fourth-largest river (2,000 kilometres long).

Under the terms of the treaty, the U.S. pays Canada $64 million for flood control and agrees to send electricity generated at downstream U.S. hydropower dams to Canada.

The treaty has no expiration date, but either country may cancel it or suggest changes beginning in 2024 with 10 years notice.

 

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