Dec 08, 2017 / Energy/Environment | Foreign Relations

McMorris Rodgers Statement on Renegotiation of the Columbia River Treaty 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 8, 2017) – Yesterday evening, the Department of State announced its intentions to move into renegotiations of the Columbia River Treaty beginning in early 2018. Today, Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) released the following statement in response:

“The Columbia River Treaty and the relationship between the U.S. and Canada play an indispensable role in the livelihoods of those in the Pacific Northwest,” said McMorris Rodgers. “But we must move forward with renegotiations to ensure this agreement remains mutually-beneficial. I’ve had a number of conversations with Secretary Tillerson to urge the State Department to renegotiate, and I’m pleased to see that effort move forward. By addressing the ‘Canadian Entitlement’ and other issues we can form a treaty that will serve both nation’s for generations to come.”

NOTE: The Congresswoman has played a major role in urging the past two administrations to reopen the conversation on the Columbia River Treaty. In February of 2016, her and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), as Co-Chairs of the Northwest Energy Caucus, wrote a letter to President Obama in which they said, “The agreement between Canada and the United States serves as a framework for the mutual benefit of both countries, providing low-cost hydropower generation, flood control, and economic growth.”

In October of this year, the Congresswoman led a letter with a bipartisan group of Pacific Northwest Representatives to Ambassador David MacNaughton to urge renegotiation. The letter states, “The 1964 treaty has been in place for fifty-three years and has surpassed its balance. Specifically, there is an imbalance of benefits between our two nations in regards to the “Canadian Entitlement”, which requires Pacific Northwest electricity consumers to pay Canada for downstream power benefits. It is estimated that our constituents overpay this entitlement by ten times the reciprocal benefit.”

Earlier this year, the Congresswoman also spoke directly to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson about the importance of renegotiation.

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