Saturday, August 17, 2013

Columbia River Treaty Expires

The United States’ long-standing treaty with Canada over Columbia River usage rights ends next year. The treaty, called “The Columbia River Treaty” was enacted in 1964 to help the US and Canada share the benefits of the Columbia River. However, much has changed in environmental terms and not for the good. The two countries have the opportunity to ratify the treaty and in the process continue to supply carbon free power to the entire northwest region.  Along with the opportunity to ratify the treaty is the opportunity not to renew, which wouldn’t take effect until 10 years after the official termination of the treaty. It all makes for an interesting interaction between the two nations who are in vastly different economic circumstances than they were almost 50 years ago.

Ecologically, there as some major issues, when the Grande Coolie Dam was originally built under the original treaty Canada lost all of its Coho, Chinook, Burbot, Steelhead and sturgeon fish. For many Canadians this is a depressing and sobering side effect of the treaty although the energy benefits of the treaty were highly lucrative. Canada originally received in 1964 a $275 million dollar payment up front along with rights to 50% of the energy produced by the dams that the US built on Columbia. Even still Canadian interests would like their salmon runs restored as a part of any new negotiations. To read more on this topic click on the link provided below:

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