During my March 2023 visit to Ottawa, Prime Minister Trudeau and I re-committed to modernize the Columbia River Treaty. 

Today, with Prime Minister Trudeau visiting Washington D.C., I am pleased to announce that our countries have reached agreement in principle on the key elements of a modernized Treaty. 

After 60 years, the Treaty needs updating to reflect our changing climate and the changing needs of the communities that depend on this vital waterway. The Columbia River and its tributaries are of great importance to Tribal and Indigenous peoples, who have been sustained by this ecosystem and the abundant resources it provides for time immemorial. These waterways are also vitally important to our nation’s economy, generating 40% of U.S. hydropower, irrigating $8 billion in agriculture products, and moving 42 million tons of commercial cargo every year. 

For 60 years, the United States and Canada have managed these waterways together through the Columbia River Treaty.  Now, our two countries have found common ground on how we will work together to care for them for the next 20 years.

In modernizing this treaty, we will elevate U.S. Tribes’ and Canadian Indigenous Nations’ voices. We’ll re-balance energy coordination between the United States and Canada, allowing the United States to keep more clean hydropower energy at home while giving Canada more opportunities to import from and export to the U.S. market – critical to both countries achieving our clean energy goals.

And the United States will benefit from pre-planned water storage at Canadian Treaty dams, to help control flooding and protect vulnerable communities.

In the coming weeks, the United States and Canada will continue our work together to draft a Treaty amendment that reflects these key elements and to begin the process in both our countries to get this done. 

Together, we will continue to steward this precious shared natural resource, on behalf of all our people.


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