State Department Vague But Optimistic On Columbia River Treaty Renegotiations
On the conference call, members of the negotiating team didn’t want to be identified, but a spokesperson who asked to be called “a senior U.S. government official” said the two-day meeting was “very productive.”
They declined to elaborate on any specific negotiating positions, but they did say they seek “greater coordination with Canada on the appropriate quantity and timing of water releases to help support a healthy ecosystem, and that includes salmon.”
They also seek “an equitable balance” with respect to hydropower that is produced on the Columbia River. U.S. officials have been saying that Canada derives more benefit from the treaty than the U.S..
The negotiating team is relying on regional recommendations that were finalized in 2013 following years of consultation with federal and state agencies and tribes in the region.
However, there is still no formal tribal representation on either side of the negotiating table.
When the State Department announced it would formally open renegotiations with Canada, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville voiced disappointment at the lack of tribal representation on the negotiating team. There are 15 tribes on the U.S. side of Columbia River Basin. Three Canadian First Nations say they have also been excluded from formal negotiations.
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Washington, has been pushing for renegotiations for at least four years. She said consultation with tribes has been adequate.
“I’m comfortable with who is at the negotiating table,” McMorris Rodgers said. “It’s those that are actually managing the river system itself, and they long have been the lead negotiators.”
The U.S. negotiating team is led by the State Department and includes representatives from the Bonneville Power Administration and three other federal agencies.
The next round of talks on the treaty are set to take place in British Columbia in mid-August. The treaty dates back to 1964. It expires in 2024.
Bateman Island Causeway: Update
Phil Ridgon Yakama Nation Listen (Runtime 2:19) Read In Richland, a Causeway that extends out to Bateman Island blocks the confluence of the Columbia and Yakima. For the Yakama Nation,… Continue Reading Bateman Island Causeway: Update
Honoring Chamna With Yakama Nation
SummaryThe Yamaka Nation hosted an event at the confluence of the Yakima and Columbia rivers in Richland to celebrate Tribal heritage and culture. The event also focused on environmental problems… Continue Reading Honoring Chamna With Yakama Nation
B.C. Tailings Dam Failure Could Spell Disaster For Canada, Washington, Studies Say
If two British Columbia tailings dams fail, it could spell disaster, according to two reports that analyzed the chances of the dams failing. Continue Reading B.C. Tailings Dam Failure Could Spell Disaster For Canada, Washington, Studies Say