Reps. Kildee, Duffy Lead Bipartisan Letter Highlighting Opposition to Proposed Canadian Nuclear Waste Facility

February 1, 2017

Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05) and Congressman Sean Duffy (WI-07) today sent a bipartisan letter to the new Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland, to express the increasing opposition in both the U.S. and Canada to Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG) plan to build a permanent nuclear waste storage site less than a mile from Lake Huron. In total, 23 Members of Congress – Democrats and Republicans – signed the letter.

OPG, a Canadian state-owned energy company, is currently seeking approval from the Canadian Ministry of Environment to build a permanent nuclear waste storage facility in Kincardine, Ontario, less than a mile from the Great Lakes. Recently, OPG released their own study on potential alternate locations for the site and recognized that there are other viable locations to store nuclear waste in Ontario. A portion of the report said that research shows that there is little concern among the general public regarding the deep geologic repository project. This claim is not true.

“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,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter.

To date, 186 municipalities – in both the U.S. and Canada – have passed resolutions opposing the plan, including Flint, Mich., Bay County, Mich.; Toronto, Ontario; Chicago, Ill.; Wayne County, Mich.; Milwaukee, Wisc.; Essex County, Ontario; and Rochester County, New York. The Michigan State Senate also has passed a resolution opposing the Canadian nuclear waste storage site.

Congressman Kildee, a member of the House Great Lakes Task Force, has been a tireless advocate in the fight to stop the storage of Canadian nuclear waste so close to the Great Lakes. For years, he has been raising awareness about the proposed Canadian plan and how an accident could potentially release radioactive material that would devastate the Great Lakes’ $7 billion fishing industry, harm Michigan’s economy and severely damage the world’s largest freshwater supply.

“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,” the lawmakers wrote.

The signatories on the letter, in addition to Congressman Kildee and Congressman Duffy, include: Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Congressman Paul Mitchell (MI-10), Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02), Congressman David Joyce (OH-14), Congressman Sander Levin (MI-09), Congressman Brad Schneider (IL-10), Congressman John Moolenaar (MI-04), Congressman Jim Renacci (OH-16), Congressman Mike Bishop (MI-08), Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence (MI-14), Congresswoman Robin Kelly (IL-02), Congressman Dave Trott (MI-11), Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13), Congressman Daniel Lipinski (IL-03), Congressman Peter Roskam (IL-06), Congressman Rick Nolan (MN-08), Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (OH-11), Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY-25), Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26)

Full text of the letter 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.

Sincerely,

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

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