Washington Journal of Environmental Law & Policy


The Columbia River Treaty between the United States and Canada may be terminated unilaterally by either nation beginning next year; this has brough attention within the Pacific Northwest and beyond to the 1964 agreement on river flows. Much of the discussion about updating the accord highlights important goals such as bettering the protection of fish and increasing public participation in ecosystem governance, but often neglects analysis of how electricity markets have changed over the past fifty years. This Comment, through an examination of key developments in utilities law and application of economic theory, attempts to parse principles that may prove helpful in finding a solution to the agreement’s most contentious element—the “Canadian Entitlement” payments from the U.S. to British Columbia—from the puzzle of the Columbia River Treaty’s electricity piece.

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