US, Canada to begin talks in 2018 on Columbia River deal

The treaty doesn't have an expiration date

The Bonneville Dam is a major driver of the Northwest economy and a huge obstacle for endangered fish. Dams on the Columbia could be asked to play different roles as the U.S. and Canada reconsider the treaty that regulates the river system. Undated photo. (Portland Tribune)
The Bonneville Dam is a major driver of the Northwest economy and a huge obstacle for endangered fish. Dams on the Columbia could be asked to play different roles as the U.S. and Canada reconsider the treaty that regulates the river system. Undated photo. (Portland Tribune)

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Members of Congress from Washington state are praising the decision to start negotiations early next year over the future of the Columbia River Treaty.

The 1964 agreement between the United States and Canada governs hydropower and flood control operations along the Columbia, which starts in British Columbia and flows through the U.S. to the Pacific Ocean.

The Northwest congressional delegation has been pressing the U.S. government to reopen treaty negotiations with Canada for several years.

The treaty doesn’t have an expiration date, but either country can cancel most of its provisions after September 2024, with a 10-year minimum notice. The U.S. Department of State on Dec. 7 announced its intention to enter talks with Canada over the treaty.