83. U.S.-Canada letters re Teck-Cominco - EPA agreement (July 2006)

July 21, 2006

Mr. Tobias Nussbaum
Director, U.S. Relations Division
Foreign Affairs Canada
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0G2

Dear Mr. Nussbaum:

The United States Government concurs with the proposed creation of an arrangement, described in your July 18 letter, through which the Canadian Government could fulfill an “enhanced consultative role” in the Teck Cominco-EPA Agreements addressing the contamination of the Columbia River above the Grand Coulee dam.

I propose that this letter, along with your letter of July 18, 2006, constitute the “exchange of notes” described in the Technical Review of the Agreements.


Terry A. Breese

Director, Office of Canadian Affairs

July 18, 2006

Mr. Terry A, Breese


Office of Canadian Affairs

Room 3917

US. State Department

Washington, DC



Dear Mr. Breese:

Following up the June 2, 2006, agreement between Teck Cominco and EPA to investigate contamination in the Columbia River in the state of Washington, I would like to clarify the role of the Government of Canada. Annex B of Technical Review of the Agreement provides for an “enhanced consultative role” for the Canadian Government, arrangements for which to be completed by exchange of notes. In view of the nature of the transboundary pollution and the spirit of cooperation established between the two governments that has enabled these agreements to be concluded, I would like to propose that this role include the following elements.

The Canadian Government and the United States Government will meet from time to time, at the request of either side, but in any event, not less than once a year, to address any questions or concerns on the Teck Cominco-EPA Agreements, including the human health and ecological risk assessments, until the Teck Cominco EPA Agreements have been implemented or are no longer in effect. The U.S. and Canadian delegations for these consultations will consist of federal representatives nominated by their respective governments. For the purpose of Canada’s enhanced consultative role, “Teck Cominco-EPA Agreements” means all agreements between Teck Cominco and EPA addressing the contamination of the Columbia River above the Grand Coulee Dam.

On an ongoing and timely basis, the U.S. Government will share information, data, results and conclusions from the implementation of the Teck Cominco EPA Agreements with Canada. Any such information, data, results and conclusions that are designated by the U.S. or Canadian Governments as being classified, proprietary or otherwise not in the public domain, will be given appropriate protection in accordance with freedom of information and access to information laws. Any U.S. or Canadian government official given access to the information will, as necessary, sign a confidentiality agreement to respect any protected information. In addition, prior to disseminating any information received under this paragraph to any persons not employed by either government, the governments will consult.


To further assist the implementation of the Teck Cominco EPA Agreements, the Canadian Government will consider any request by the U.S. Government to undertake sampling in Canadian waters, permission for which normally would be granted unless the request for sampling is not, in the view of the Canadian Government, related to the sampling and research work being undertaken by Teck Cominco pursuant to the Teck Cominco EPA Agreements or is not scientifically justified.

In the event of any disagreements about proposed courses of action, conclusions or analysis under the Teck Cominco EPA Agreements, any of the government representatives may request consultations. In the event of the disagreements not being resolved at this level, the governments may request through diplomatic channels further consultations which may involve representatives form other government departments and agencies.

Yours sincerely,

Tobias Nussbaum
U.S. Relations Division