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The Columbia River Treaty: Proposed Changes and the Resulting Legal, Regulatory and Practical Issues
September 22-23, 2014
David Bursey co-chairs this conference examining the future of the Columbia River Treaty on behalf of Law Seminars International. The Columbia River Treaty, which has governed hydroelectric development, water storage, and flood control in the Columbia River Basin for the past half-century, is widely regarded as one of the most successful resource-use treaties in history. But 2014 marks a turning point because either the United States or Canada may now request termination of the Treaty. Already, recommendations concerning whether to terminate, modify, or amend the treaty have been developed in both British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest. Whether and how these recommendations are carried out will affect the economy and environment of everyone in the region for decades to come. In particular, treaty negotiations will have long-lasting consequences for hydroelectric power producers and electric consumers, irrigators, communities up and down the river valley that are affected by flood control, fisheries, the environment, river navigation, Native Americans and First Nations, and water-borne recreation. LSI's Columbia River Treaty Conference will bring experts from both sides of the border to discuss the history of the treaty, perspectives from both sides of the border, the recommendations from both the U.S. Pacific Northwest and British Columbia, how these recommendations may affect future treaty negotiations, and the consequences for affected interest groups ranging from flood-prone communities to fisheries to electricity consumers.