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20 Sep 2014
21 Sep 2014
Officials say endangered fish should be critical factor as U.S., Canada renegotiate Columbia River Treaty.
They also suggest lowering hydro subsidies to Canada.
Improving the ecosystem function of the Columbia River should rise to equal status with hydropower production and flood control as the U.S. renews the landmark Columbia River Treaty with Canada, according to regional leaders of the Army Corps of Engineers and Bonneville Power Administration.
Officials from the two agencies, who are taking the lead role so far for the U.S. in reviewing the nearly 50-year-old treaty, released draft negotiating terms Friday.
Those called for reducing the hydro power subsidy given to Canada under the treaty, known as the the Canadian Entitlement. That now provides an estimated $250 million to $300 million a year worth of hydro power to Canada each year that is generated in Washington dams. That compensates Canada for the efforts it takes to hold back water and prevent floods downstream, which is crucial to the Portland area.
Expanding the ecosystem provisions in the treaty would benefit endangered salmon and other wildlife.
The public may provide comments on the draft treaty recommendations through Oct. 25. Than, the Army Corps and BPA will deliver their final recommendations to the U.S. State Department, which would presumably then start negotiating a revised treaty with its Canadian counterpart.
To see the draft recommendation, go to www.crt2014-2024review.gov