Columbia treaty costly to B.C.

The Columbia River Treaty is not just about the lost economic opportunity costs

Re:  U.S ripping us off on water, in the Jan. 7 Oak Bay News.

Mr. Mac Clark from 1962 to 1992, represented B.C. and Canada for the International Joint Commission on Water between Canada and the U.S.A.

Mac was my director while I worked in hydrology for Environment Canada.  Mac and two of my bosses  renegotiated annually with the American Corp of Engineers the amount of water B.C. could provide them based on our freshwater forecasts.

Yes, the survival of both Columbia River and Fraser River salmon relies on adequate water flow and depth and cool enough water temperatures.

However, not mentioned in Tom Fletcher’s article is the ongoing leaching of radiation from Hanford  into the Columbia River, which can drift north into B.C. fish-bearing waters.  The radiation is public knowledge in the U.S.A., not well known to the B.C. public

Hanford is the most contaminated site in the U.S.A. and the most expensive toxic site to clean up, even more so than Love Canal.  It was the Second World War’s largest secret site for concentrating radioactive material for the Hiroshima bomb.

PBS had a recent program on how sick the workers are still getting due to exposure while cleaning up this site.  B.C.’s Teck Cominco north of Hanford was one of many Canadian contributors to Hanford.

In 1995, some of the 45,000 scientists and engineers Ottawa laid off were relocated to Canadian universities as adjunct and associate professors.

However, the directorates, such as Inland Waters from 1970 to 1990, which oversaw national standards for water quality and hydrology, were closed.  So the fragmented remains of Canadian research survive at our universities and the ‘national’ health and safety standards for humans, fish, animals, etc.  downloaded or extinguished since 1995, especially since 2001.  Hanford is the worst case for both our salmon, animals and humans.

It’s a sad comment on Canadian science, when I am forced to rely on international research for best practice examples.

Regarding the Columbia River Treaty, 70 years later Hanford is still affecting Pacific Northwest fish regardless of Columbia’s hydrology.  Once in awhile articles still appear in U.S. papers about this.

The Columbia River Treaty is not just about the lost economic opportunity costs.

Susan Rowntree





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