WA Senators, Members of Congress push for progress on Columbia River Treaty

By:  Sean Robb
Source: KREM.com

U.S. Senate and U.S. House members from the Pacific Northwest sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry today urging progress towards negotiations to modernize the Columbia River Treaty.

The group of five senators and 17 house members was led by Washington Senator Maria Cantwell and included Washington Senator Patty Murray.

In the letter, the group says updating the treaty, which has not been revised since it was ratified in 1964, will allow the U.S. and Canada to find new solutions for management of the river.

Senator Cantwell said the treaty could provide new opportunities for cooperation on critical clean energy solutions such as smart grids with intermittent power, grid-scale storage, and clean infrastructure solutions.

Such projects would drive new economic growth in both the U.S. and Canada.

The members of Congress support the U.S. negotiating position based on regional recommendations to modernize the Treaty, balancing ecosystem function including salmon recovery, flood control, and hydropower generation.

State Department officials said that they intend to start negotiations in 2016.