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Michigan congressmen urge U.S. and Canadian governments to reject nuclear waste site near Lake Huron

Ontario Power Generation

Members of Michigan's congressional delegation have sent letters to the Trump administration and the Canadian government in hopes of stopping a planned nuclear waste site along Lake Huron.

Ontario Power Generation wants to store low and intermediate level radioactive waste less than a mile from Lake Huron.  The utility insists the plan is safe and other options are too expensive.

The Canadian government is taking public comment on the proposal.    

Michigan’s congressional delegation want the Trump administration to use its influence to discourage the Canadian government from letting the plan move forward.

Republican Paul Mitchell, R-MI 10th District, says the plan “poses a danger to a crucial water source.” 

In a different letter, a bi-partisan group of congressmen from different states, including Michigan, tell Canada’s new Minister of Foreign Affairs of their opposition to the project.

The lawmakers wrote a letter to Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland. It said, in part:

“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.”

Nearly 200 local governments and other groups have taken a stand against the plan to build the facility near Kincardine, Ontario.  

The Canadian government has delayed its decision on the project in the past. No decisions are expected until this fall.  

Full text of the letter sent to the Minister of Foreign Affairs can be found below:


Minister Freeland:


Congratulations on your recent appointment as Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs. We look forward to working with you and Prime Minister Trudeau on a multitude of issues of mutual interest to our countries.


For some time, Members of Congress from both parties have expressed concerned about a proposed deep geologic repository for nuclear waste (DGR) that Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is planning to build in Kincardine, Ontario less than one mile from the Great Lakes.


We would like to emphasize our opposition to permanently burying nuclear waste within the Great Lakes basin.


Recently, OPG released a study on potential alternate locations for the DGR. In that report, OPG recognized that there are other viable locations to store nuclear waste in Ontario that would be technically feasible. And we ask that you require OPG to select a site that is outside the Great Lakes basin. Again, permanently burying nuclear waste so close to the drinking water of nearly 40 million people is just too risky.


Further, a portion of the report, under the section ‘Social Licence’, reads in part, “Research shows that there is little interest among the general public regarding the DGR Project at the Bruce Nuclear site.” We vehemently disagree with this conclusion.


First, one cannot depend on social media or internet traffic activity to determine the public’s feelings about burying toxic waste next to the Great Lakes. This data is neither scientific nor representative of the entire population.


Attached you will find a list of 186 local, county and state governments representing nearly 23 million people in the U.S. and Canada that have passed resolutions opposing the proposed nuclear waste repository. In addition, we have heard from our constituents that they are overwhelmingly opposed to OPG’s proposal.


As you can see, contradictory to OPG’s report, there is in fact broad opposition from citizens in both Canada and the United States to burying nuclear waste near the Great Lakes.


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.


Thank you for your attention to this important matter and congratulations again on your appointment.




Daniel Kildee

Sean Duffy

Debbie Dingell

Paul Mitchell

Jackie Walorski

David Joyce

Sander Levin

Brad Schneider

John Moolenaar

Jim Renacci

Mike Bishop

Brenda Lawrence

Robin Kelly

Dave Trott

Marcy Kaptur

Jan Schakowsky

John Conyers, Jr.

Daniel Lipinski

Peter Roskam

Richard Nolan

Marcia Fudge

Louise Slaughter

Brian Higgins

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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