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U.S. lawmakers want Trump to help block a proposed Canadian nuclear waste repository

Mar 15, 2017

Members of Michigan's congressional delegation have introduced resolutions in the U.S. House and Senate opposing Ontario Power Generation's proposal to bury low and medium-level nuclear waste in Ontario less than a mile from Lake Huron.

The controversial proposal is currently under consideration by the Canadian government.

U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Gary Peters (D-MI), along with Congressman Dan Kildee (D-Flint), introduced the resolutions today. They have a bipartisan group of co-sponsors from the Great Lakes states.

"We should not have a shared water source put at risk by locating a nuclear waste dump less than a mile from that water," Kildee said.  "It just does not make sense."

"Surely in the vast land mass that comprises Canada, there must be a better place to permanently store nuclear waste than on the shores of Lake Huron," he added.

The resolution points out that more than 40 million people in both Canada and the U.S. depend on the Great Lakes for their drinking water.

The resolution calls on President Trump and the Secretary of State to work with the Canadian government to prevent a nuclear waste repository from being built in the Great Lakes Basin. It also urges the U.S. and Canada to develop a safe and responsible solution for long-term storage of nuclear waste.

"(The United States has) never approved a permanent storage facility anywhere near a water basin or shared water source," said Kildee. "We're simply asking the Canadian government to do the same thing."

Kildee said that in 1986 the U.S. rejected three possible sites in Vermont for underground nuclear waste storage after the Canadian government had expressed concern about the risks to water basins shared with Canada. 

According to the resolutions introduced Wednesday, more than 187 local, county, state, and tribal governments have already passed resolutions in opposition to Ontario Power Generation's proposed nuclear waste repository.

"(The resolution) would add to all the voices the voice of the United States Congress saying this site should be rethought. They should find a different location," Kildee said.

"(The Canadian authorities) see that Democrats and Republicans, people on the right and the left, both have objections to this. It sends a strong message even without it being taken to the floor," said Kildee. "If we got it to the floor and had a full vote on it, that would be even stronger."

Kildee said he did not know when the Canadian government will make a decision on Ontario Power Generation's proposal.