U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) and Congressman Dan Kildee (D-MI) today urged newly elected Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to take action to stop nuclear waste from being buried less than a mile from Lake Huron. In a letter to the Prime Minister, Sens. Stabenow, Peters and Rep. Kildee urged the new Canadian government to not approve permits necessary to construct a proposed nuclear waste site in Kincardine, Ontario. The previous Canadian administration said a decision on whether or not to move forward with the construction of a repository would be made by December 2. Given the proximity of the proposed nuclear waste site to the Great Lakes, an accident that releases radioactive material could devastate the Great Lakes’ $7 billion fishing industry, harm Michigan’s economy, and severely damage environmentally sensitive areas. More than 40 million people in Canada and the United States rely on the Great Lakes for their drinking water. Senator Stabenow is the Co-Chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, Senator Peters is a member of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force and Congressman Kildee is a member of the House Great Lakes Task Force. The letter reads in part: ‘The Great Lakes are our most precious natural resource — providing drinking water to 40 million people on both sides of the border and billions of dollars to our regional and national economies. Given the critical importance of these shared waters to our countries, and the potentially catastrophic damages to the Lakes from a nuclear accident, we urge your administration not to approve this repository and consider alternative locations outside the Great Lakes Basin.’ Earlier this year, Sens. Stabenow, Peters and Rep. Kildee introduced the Stop Nuclear Waste by Our Lakes Act to require the State Department to invoke the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 and mandate that the International Joint Commission (IJC) study the risks to the Great Lakes from the proposed Canadian nuclear waste site. The legislation would also require the State Department to undertake negotiations with the Government of Canada to wait for the study results before approving any waste site located on the Great Lakes. Full text of the letter can be found below:
Dear Prime Minister Trudeau:
Please accept our congratulations on being elected the 23rd Prime Minister of Canada. We are eager to work collaboratively with your administration to advance our many shared interests and mutually reconcile issues where our countries may differ. We write to you today about a matter of great concern to the citizens of our respective states: the risks to the Great Lakes of constructing a deep geological repository for storing 7,000,000 cubic feet of radioactive waste on the shores of Lake Huron in Kincardine, Ontario. As you are aware, the previous Administration postponed to December 2 the deadline for rendering the final decision on whether to permit the planning for constructing the facility.
The Great Lakes are our most precious natural resource — providing drinking water to 40 million people on both sides of the border and billions of dollars to our regional and national economies. Given the critical importance of these shared waters to our countries, and the potentially catastrophic damages to the Lakes from a nuclear accident, we urge your administration not to approve this repository and consider alternative locations outside the Great Lakes Basin. At the very least, we ask that the final decision be postponed until we have an opportunity to discuss this matter with you in person. Thank you for your consideration of our requests. We look forward to working with you and your Administration.
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