Having a Seat at the Negotiating Table
Eastern Washington continues to lead the world with clean, renewable, reliable, and affordable energy thanks to our embrace of hydropower. Unfortunately, that success is being put in jeopardy by the outdated Columbia River Treaty originally signed in 1961 by Canada and the United States.
Put simply, this agreement outlines the power and flood control benefits our countries receive from the Columbia River Basin. Now, a lot has changed over the last 50 years, and it’s resulted in Eastern Washington families sending between $250-350 million in hydropower benefits to Canada each year, without receiving the same level of benefits in return.
This lopsided agreement is unacceptable and needs to be fixed, which is why I’ve called on the Biden administration to get serious about modernizing the treaty. The good news is that the president has heard our bipartisan concerns and agreed to resume negotiations next week.
The decision to have a seat back down at the negotiating table was long overdue, but it was the right one to make. With important provisions set to expire in 2024, the lack of certainty in this outdated treaty raises serious flood control and hydropower concerns that need to be addressed. It’s time for American leadership to step up and reach an agreement that benefits our entire region in the 21st Century and beyond.
Click here to learn more about the Columbia River Treaty and what it means for our communities.