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Review of landmark deal could  
By youdian on Apr 07, 2014 02:42 AM
<P>Review of landmark deal could have big implications for county</P>
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<P>When a major flood swelled the Columbia River and inundated parts of Vancouver in early 1996, it wasn't just local barriers and sandbags that kept a bad situation from becoming worse.It was also Canada.Hundreds of miles upstream in British Columbia, Hugh Keenleyside Dam held back additional water before it could make its way down through Washington and Oregon. counterparts that Wholesale Browns Jerseys they needed help; the two countries worked together to contain one of biggest Northwest flooding events of the last century. Army Corps of Engineers in Portland. "There's a lot that can happen in this big system."Keenleyside is one of three Canadian dams, along with a fourth in northwest Montana, that were built as a result of the Columbia River Treaty a sweeping agreement finalized in the 1960s to manage flood control and hydroelectric power generation on the river.But as a milestone in the agreement approaches, both nations are taking a renewed look at the treaty. side, the review has revealed some political and cultural fault lines in the Northwest as a host of players seek common ground. Those involved say the outcome could carry big implications for residents of Clark County and Southwest Washington, their property and their pocketbooks.In 1996, the Columbia River still climbed far past flood stage in Vancouver and elsewhere. But the storage capacity in Canada provided some relief for other waterways emptying into the Columbia, Echols said. That included Oregon's Willamette River, which caused some of the region's worst damage and just missed topping a www.wholesalecheapbrownsjerseys.com seawall in http://www.wholesalecheapbrownsjerseys.com/ downtown Portland before subsiding."A phone call to Canada is what helped us reduce the flow," Echols said.The treaty added more than 20 million acre feet of new reservoir storage in the basin, most of that in Canada.Matt Rea, a program manager with the Army Corps, has called the Columbia River Treaty "the most important economic driver in the Northwest that nobody has ever heard of."With a possible update looming, that's changing.Focus on ecosystem, powerAsk the average Clark County resident what the Columbia River Treaty means to him or her, and you might get a puzzled response. Ask Scott Corwin, and he'll tell you that anyone who pays a utility bill or lives in a flood plain should pay attention."You should care because it will impact your monthly power bill, and it could be significant," said Corwin, executive director of the Portland based Public Power Council.The push to rewrite the treaty has expanded the conversation beyond floods and electricity, beyond dollars and cents. Talks have also included how the river's ecosystem functions, lives and breathes topics that weren't addressed in the original agreement.Both nations highlighted ecological issues and climate change in draft recommendations released last month. The Canadian recommendation is scant on details.The original Columbia River Treaty was signed by President Dwight Eisenhower and Canadian Prime Minister John Diefenbaker in 1961. It was ratified in 1964.The primary purpose of the treaty was managing power and flood control on the river system, which originates in British Columbia before flowing through the Pacific Northwest and emptying into the Pacific Ocean at the Washington Oregon border. The treaty has no end date. But officials in both nations are reviewing the document ahead of a key date in 2014, the first year either country can give 10 years' notice to change the treaty or opt out entirely. to send a defined amount of electricity to Canada, now valued at $250 million to $350 million annually.That's where the impact to ratepayers comes in, Corwin said. If the Canadian entitlement is changed, the ripple effect could reach local utilities and their customers, he said."To ratepayers, it means sending a lot of low cost, clean hydropower to British Columbia instead of keeping it in the Northwest, which means higher electricity rates and the need to use other sources of energy for that portion instead," Corwin said.Reducing the entitlement could put money back into people's pockets in the form of lower electricity costs, he said. But if the entitlement swings the other way, the opposite could be true.</P>
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