News that U.S. officials plan to seek an update to the Columbia River Treaty with Canada was welcomed by local leaders who have long pushed for its renewal.
Last month, the entire congressional delegation from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana sent a letter urging the Obama administration to begin negotiations this year. That included U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, who reiterated the importance of the landmark agreement in a released statement this week.
“The Columbia River is central to our way of life in Southwest Washington,” Herrera Beutler said. “Pursuing a new Columbia River Treaty with fair and equitable benefits between the United States and Canada is imperative to securing the future benefits the river brings to our communities — affordable, clean hydro energy, flood management, navigation, irrigation, and ecosystem-based management.”
Revising the treaty could have significant implications for Southwest Washington and Clark County. Changing the amount of hydroelectric power sent to Canada each year under the agreement, for example, could impact local ratepayers’ utility bills. Read more
By Becky Kramer
A robust snowpack in British Columbia will help ease drought conditions in the Northwest this summer.
Three B.C. reservoirs will release additional water into the Columbia River to help migrating salmon, power production, irrigation and barge navigation.
The water releases are part of a “dry year strategy” for the Columbia Basin, which also includes drafting reservoirs behind Grand Coulee and other U.S. storage dams starting in July.
“This is among the worst dry years,” said Steve Barton, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ chief of the Columbia Basin’s water management division. Read more
By Phuong Le, The Associated Press
SEATTLE – With an abundant supply of hydroelectric power, Washington state currently gets less than 14 percent of its electricity from coal.
Gov. Jay Inslee wants to take that down to zero over time.
To wean the state off coal-generated power, the Democratic governor will have to persuade the state’s three private electric utilities – Puget Sound Energy, Pacific Power and Avista Corp. – to reduce or eliminate electricity they get from plants in Montana and Wyoming.
The utilities say coal-fired electricity is reliable and cost-effective and only part of a diverse portfolio that includes hydropower, natural gas and wind, and for now coal appears to be a part of their long-term energy plans. Read more