On the Opening of Negotiations To Modernize the Columbia River Treaty Regime

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
May 30, 2018


The United States and Canada began negotiations to modernize the Columbia River Treaty regime in Washington, DC on May 29-30. Acting Assistant Secretary Francisco Palmieri welcomed U.S. and Canadian negotiating teams and opened the first session of talks. He thanked our Canadian allies for more than 50 years of excellent transboundary collaboration in the Columbia River Basin. During two days of talks, the U.S. and Canadian negotiators discussed objectives, outlined the scope of the negotiations, and reaffirmed the spirit of cooperation that has made the Treaty an international model for transboundary water agreements. The U.S. negotiating team underscored that U.S. objectives in this negotiation include continued, careful management of flood risk; ensuring a reliable and economical power supply; and better addressing ecosystem concerns.

Jill Smail, U.S. Chief Negotiator for the Columbia River Treaty, leads the U.S. negotiating team. The U.S. negotiating team also includes representatives from the Bonneville Power Administration and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Northwestern Division (which together form the “U.S. Entity” that has responsibility for Treaty implementation in the United States); the Department of the Interior; and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The U.S. and Canadian teams plan to hold the next round of discussions August 15-16, 2018, in British Columbia.

To receive regular updates regarding the Columbia River Treaty, please contact ColumbiaRiverTreaty@state.gov. For press inquiries, please contact WHAPress@state.gov.