Michigan lawmakers urge Trump to stop Canadian nuclear waste site near Lake Huron
Six Michigan U.S. House members joined representatives from other Great Lakes states in asking Donald Trump’s administration to try to stop a controversial Canadian plan for disposing nuclear waste near Lake Huron.
More than a dozen Republican and Democratic lawmakers have signed a letter that calls on the new president to oppose a long-gestating proposal to build an underground storage facility for low- to mid-level nuclear wastes near the shore of Lake Huron.
Ontario Power Generation has sought approval in the last decade for the project.
“Nuclear power, while and important source of electricity, requires safe disposal and storage of the resultant nuclear waste,” the letter, dated Tuesday, reads. “OPG’s current proposal is to permanently store low and intermediate level radioactive waste 2,000 feet underground on the shore of Lake Huron.
“Given the close proximity of the Great Lakes, and the vast amounts of land available for alternate sites, OPG’s proposal is an unnecessary risk.”
The Michigan lawmakers who signed the letter included Republican Reps. Dave Trott of Birmingham, Paul Mitchell of Dryden, John Moolenaar of Midland, Mike Bishop of Rochester and Jack Bergman of Watersmeet as well as Democratic Reps. Dan Kildee of Flint Township, Debbie Dingell of Dearborn, Sander Levin of Royal Oak and Brenda Lawrence of Southfield.
OPG’s deep geologic repository would sit 2,230 feet below the surface and less than a mile from the shore. Company officials have argued that the makeup of the rock at that depth is perfect for safely storing wastes for “hundreds” of years.
“The Great Lakes make up one-fifth of the world’s fresh surface water supply and are a source of drinking water for 40 million people,” Mitchell said Wednesday. “This plan poses a danger to a crucial water source and a failure at the site would disrupt both Michigan and Canadian tourism and commerce.”
OPG’s storage plans continued to advance until the election of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in late 2015.
The new prime minister’s administration put the nuclear storage facility on hold, requiring further review. It asked OPG to review the possibility of relocating the project. Last month, the company said other sites would be too costly.
In January, Trudeau named Chrystia Freeland to become minister of foreign affairs, giving U.S. officials a new chance to lobby against the project.
“Our countries have long partnered to protect the Great Lakes. And we ask that the Canadian government continue to enhance our strong relationship by exploring other options outside of the Great Lakes basin to store nuclear waste,” almost two dozen U.S. legislators wrote this week in a separate letter to Freeland.