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Northwest Montana residents to get update on Columbia River Treaty

Posted at 4:11 PM, Mar 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-20 19:05:25-04

KALISPELL – Negotiations are far from over, and elected leaders from Northwest Montana are hoping to rally more interest in the outcome of a new Columbia River Treaty between the US and Canada.

Negotiators from both countries have been working on a new agreement for the past five years to replace the existing pact, which dates back to 1964.

While the agreement covers the entire Columbia River in the Northwest, extending into British Columbia, there’s been a lot of attention on how the agreement could impact the Kootenai River and operation of the Montana State Senator Mike Cuffe (R-Eureka) recently began working to build more interest in the details of the treaty.

Negotiators from both countries have been working on a new agreement for the past five years to replace the existing pact, which dates back to 1964. (MTN News photo)

He believes more money should be channeled to Montana for the value of water storage on Lake Koocanusa, which he says could bring millions of dollars in revenue to pay for schools and other services in Lincoln County.

Negotiators recently completed a fifth round of talks and federal officials will be at a town hall meeting in Kalispell on March 20 to explain details of the pact. That public meeting will run from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Red Lion Hotel in Kalispell.

Reporting by Dennis Bragg for MTN News