Peninsula Daily News
WASHINGTON — The House Appropriations Committee passed Tuesday a bill that includes a provision authored by U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer seeking to make progress on the dumping of raw sewage from Canada into the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
The report accompanying the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2016 includes language encouraging the U.S. State Department to work with Canadian counterparts on a solution to Victoria’s sewage problem.
“It’s time for Canada to take care of this mess,” Kilmer said.
“I grew up in Port Angeles, right across the water from Victoria. So it concerns me when after many years, raw sewage from Canada continues to end up right in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
“This provision is part of my ongoing effort to bring our Canadian partners to the table so we can find a solution and ensure this does not impact our shared waters any longer.”
The recently reorganized wastewater treatment board in British Columbia is currently reviewing proposed plans for two sewage treatment plants in the region.
The Victoria area, home to 300,000 people, has pumped effluent into the waters across from Washington state for years.
Last March, Kilmer urged Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to find a solution to the sewage problem.
His comments came during a meeting between the prime minister and seven members of the House of Representatives.
In 2015, Kilmer authored language asking the State Department to work with Canadian counterparts on a solution to the sewage problem.
He previously led members of the Washington state delegation in an effort to call on the British Columbia premier to move forward in addressing the issue, saying it poses a risk to fisheries, businesses and healthy waters.
On Tuesday, Kilmer also authored report language calling for the U.S. State Department and other agencies involved in negotiations over the Columbia River Treaty to begin working on it this year.
For the past 50 years, the U.S. and Canada have used the Columbia River Treaty as the blueprint for coordinating hydropower generation and flood control on the Columbia River system.
In 2014, Kilmer joined all other lawmakers representing Washington, Oregon, Montana and Idaho in urging President Barack Obama to make the future of the Columbia River Treaty a priority for his administration.