B.C. Offers Up Columbia River Treaty Renewal Wishlist

CBC News and Reuters Canada reports on ongoing negotiations over the  Columbia River Treaty (CRT).  What’s CRT?  It’s a 1964 Canada-U.S. treaty that established the following:
  • In return for $64 million, Canada provides the United States an assured Pacific flood control plan for 40 years
  • As part of this plan, Canada had to build three dams:  the Mica, Arrow, and Duncan.
  • It permitted America to build the Libby Dam in Montana.
  • Equal Canadian and American shares in the downstream hydropower benefits of the treaty management system.

The U.S. offered it’s renewal wishlist three months ago.  This week, British Columbia has offered up its own CRT renewal wishlist.  (Check this out to learn more about the CRT’s interesting history and why the treaty’s prolonged renewal negations shouldn’t surprise anyone.)

While most press on this subject highlights the financial aspects of the deal, more significant are how Canada and the United States will manage CRT’s ecological aspects.  The treaty represents an impressive achievement of two nation’s sharing and protecting vital waterways.  

Now facing 21st century ecological tensions, CRT’s treaty renewal is a ongoing case-study in the evolution of the Canada-U.S. bilateral relationship. 

From Nicole Mordant’s Reuters Canada CRT article:

The Canadian province of British Columbia said on Thursday it wants to keep a 50-year-old Canada-U.S. pact on Columbia River flood control and power generation in place, but it urged the federal government to push for what it called improvements.

The announcement of the Pacific Coast province’s stance on renewing the Columbia River Treaty, which has been in effect since 1964, came three months after the agencies leading a U.S. review of the pact recommended that Washington continue the agreement, but that it reduce the payments it makes to Canada under the treaty.


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