WASHINGTON, D.C. – Reps. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) and Kurt Schrader (D-OR) were joined today by Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Greg Walden (R-OR), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), and Dave Reichert (R-WA) in a bipartisan letter urging President Trump to commence negotiations with Canada over the Columbia River Treaty (CRT) as soon as possible.
“Managing the flow of the Columbia River and its tributaries governs our way of life in Central Washington in many ways,” said Rep. Newhouse. “Renegotiating the Columbia River Treaty has an enormous impact on jobs, hydropower, water storage, flood control, and the environment in the Pacific Northwest. It is important to begin formal negotiations as soon as possible to address certain inequities, such as the ‘Canadian Entitlement,’ as well as to ensure we have an updated and equitable treaty for the 21st century. I am encouraged to be joined by my colleagues to request the President’s administration begin proactive engagement on modernizing the treaty with our northern neighbor.”
“For more than 50 years the Columbia River Treaty has fostered important cooperation between the U.S. and Canada as it relates to flood control, water storage, and clean renewable hydropower,” said Rep. Schrader. “Through the treaty, our communities along the river have been better protected and able to enjoy the economic growth that clean energy production generates. However, we continue to pay exorbitant sums for Canadian flood control improvements constructed years ago. Renegotiation of this treaty is long overdue. It’s time for our Canadian friends to come to the table in a meaningful way so we can strike a fair deal that reflects where we are in the 21st Century.”
Background: Updating the Columbia River Treaty, which has not been revised since it was ratified in 1964, will allow the U.S. and Canada to find solutions for management of the river that could provide new opportunities for cooperation on clean energy solutions, flood control, and economic growth in the Pacific Northwest region. In 2016, Reps. Newhouse and Schrader joined U.S. House and Senate colleagues to call on the U.S. State Department under President Obama to finalize its negotiating parameters and to press Canada to appoint a lead negotiator. Both actions are required for formal discussions to begin.