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Opinion
The following is presented as part of The Columbian’s Opinion content, which offers a point of view in order to provoke thought and debate of civic issues. Opinions represent the viewpoint of the author. Unsigned editorials represent the consensus opinion of The Columbian’s editorial board, which operates independently of the news department.
 

Cheers & Jeers: Taking on treaty; lingering ills

The Columbian
Published: April 1, 2023, 6:03am

Cheers: To the Columbia River Treaty. President Joe Biden’s recent visit to Canada contained some news that is pertinent to Washington. Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau emphasized the importance of the Columbia River Treaty and their mutual desire to modernize the pact.

The treaty went into effect in 1964 and helps regulate flood mitigation and hydropower throughout the Columbia River basin. That basin is roughly the size of Texas, extending from Canada to Nevada while covering most of Washington. The flood-control portion of the treaty expires in 2024, and 15 rounds of negotiations have taken place since 2018. With Biden and Trudeau both recognizing the importance of the treaty, there is hope that a mutually beneficial accord can be reached.

Jeers: To long COVID. Recent articles in The Columbian detailed the impact and the difficulty of persistent COVID symptoms, with many people who contract the virus suffering from lingering health issues. How many? Health officials don’t know. How long? That also is unknown and can vary by patient.

“The good news is … most people get better,” a University of Washington doctor said. “The persistent symptoms do tend to get better over time, though it can take a long time.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 20 percent of COVID patients suffer from long COVID, which can result in extreme fatigue, brain fog and other symptoms. The specter of lingering symptoms is another reason for caution in avoiding the disease.

Cheers: To job growth. While there are concerns about the national economy, positive signs persist in Clark County. The latest report from the Washington Employment Security Department shows that the region added approximately 1,400 jobs in February — 600 in seasonally adjusted terms. “Still all systems go,” regional economist Scott Bailey said.

Also notable is the fact that Clark, Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties are among the fastest-growing in the state, which bodes well for Southwest Washington. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic three years ago, Clark County has seen a 9.5 percent increase in employment, outpacing the rate at the national and state levels.

Jeers: To contaminated fish. State health officials have recommended that consumers limit consumption of sturgeon and lamprey caught from the Columbia River because of contamination. Fish have been found with excessive levels of polychlorinated biphenyls, which are known carcinogens.

PCBs are human-made chemicals that were commonly applied to industrial and commercial products before they were banned in 1979. Despite that ban, the chemicals linger in the environment and can eventually find their way into fish that are then consumed by humans. That danger represents the importance of strict regulation of chemicals that can have temporary use but long-lasting effects.

Cheers: To Opening Day. The Major League Baseball season got underway on Thursday, and there is reason for optimism in Seattle. The Mariners made the playoffs last year for the first time since 2001, and some offseason roster moves have resulted in high hopes for this season. Of course, hope springs eternal at the start of any baseball season.

Most important, however, is a series of rule changes designed to speed up the game and make the sport more exciting for casual fans. Under any conditions, an afternoon at Seattle’s T-Mobile Park is a pleasant way to spend a sunny summer day.

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