US ready to start talks with Canada on Columbia River Treaty

SPOKANE, Wash. - The United States is ready to start talks with Canada to update the Columbia River Treaty.

U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell made that announcement Friday after talking with Secretary of State John Kerry.

Cantwell has for years been urging the State Department to begin the negotiation process.

The Washington Democrat says updating the Columbia River Treaty will present new economic opportunities and provide a new focus on protecting the river's ecosystem.

The treaty has not been updated since it was first ratified in 1964.

Canada had refused to begin talks until the United States finalized its negotiating parameters.

The treaty governs operations of hydroelectric dams and reservoirs on the Columbia River.

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