Senators Hopgood, Conyers, Pavlov, Gregory, Jones, Knezek, Horn, Colbeck, Rocca, Hertel, Schmidt, Hansen, Booher, Warren and Zorn offered the following resolution:
Senate Resolution No. 19.
A resolution to oppose Ontario Power Generation’s proposal to build a nuclear waste repository in Kincardine, Ontario, to memorialize the United States Congress to do all it can to oppose the construction of any underground nuclear waste repository in the Great Lakes basin, and to urge the Canadian government to prohibit the siting and construction of a nuclear waste repository anywhere in the Great Lakes basin.
Whereas, Lake Huron and the other Great Lakes are critically important resources to both the United States and Canada. The Great Lakes contain 95 percent of North America’s surface freshwater and provide drinking water to tens of millions of people. Pristine water is important to fishing, boating, recreation, tourism, and agriculture in Michigan and throughout the region. The agriculture, commercial and sport fishing, shipping, recreation, and tourism industries are important components of the Great Lakes, providing 1.5 million jobs and $62 billion in wages every year; and
Whereas, Ontario Power Generation (OPG) has proposed the construction of an underground long-term burial facility, known as a deep geologic repository (DGR) or nuclear waste repository, at the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station site in Kincardine, Ontario, to bury and abandon all of OPG’s low- and intermediate-level radioactive nuclear waste, some of which will remain radioactive and toxic for over 100,000 years. The proposed site, less than a mile inland from the shores of Lake Huron and about 440 yards below the lake level, is approximately 120 miles upstream from the main drinking water intakes for southeast Michigan; and
Whereas, The governments of Canada and the United States, under the 2012 Protocol Amending the Agreement Between Canada and the United States of America on Great Lakes Water Quality, acknowledge the importance of anticipating, preventing, and responding to threats to the waters of the Great Lakes and share a responsibility and an obligation to protect the Great Lakes from contamination from various sources of pollution, including the leakage of nuclear waste from an underground nuclear waste repository; and
Whereas, During the 1980s, the U.S. Department of Energy was considering potential sites for a nuclear waste repository, including some locations in the Great Lakes basin. As a result of significant Canadian opposition, then Secretary of State for External Affairs, Joe Clark, intervened and convinced the U.S. government to honor Canada’s request to exclude any sites within 40 kilometers of the Canadian border; and
Whereas, This proposal to place a permanent nuclear waste burial facility so close to the Great Lakes raises serious concerns. OPG did not consider or evaluate any other specific sites for the location of the proposed DGR. The underground nuclear waste repository proposed by OPG would be the first of its kind to be constructed in limestone, and the initial environmental impact statement noted that the acceptability of an alternative site was “unknown”; and
Whereas, After considering the Joint Review Panel Environmental Assessment report for the DGR, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change advised OPG in February 2016 that further information would be required before a decision statement would be issued and instructed OPG to, among other things, undertake a study detailing the environmental effects of technically and economically feasible alternate locations for the proposed nuclear waste repository; and
Whereas, On December 28, 2016, OPG submitted a report outlining generic information about two alternative geologic regions, but failed to provide any information on specific sites or consider any areas located outside of the Great Lakes basin; and
Whereas, As of September 12, 2016, entities representing over 23 million citizens have passed 187 resolutions in the states of Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New York, and Ohio and in the province of Ontario opposing the proposed nuclear waste repository, with the vast majority of the resolutions opposing any permanent underground nuclear waste repository anywhere in the Great Lakes basin; and
Whereas, Placing a permanent nuclear waste burial facility within the Great Lakes basin is ill-advised. The potential damage to the Great Lakes from any leak or breach of radioactivity far outweighs any benefits that could be derived from burying radioactive waste at this site. The ecology of the Great Lakes, which is valuable beyond measure to the health and economic well-being of the entire region, should not be placed at risk by storing radioactive waste within the Great Lakes watershed; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate, That we oppose Ontario Power Generation’s proposal to build a nuclear waste repository in Kincardine, Ontario; and be it further
Resolved, That we memorialize the United States Congress to do all it can to oppose the construction of any underground nuclear waste repository in the Great Lakes basin; and be it further
Resolved, That we urge the Canadian government to prohibit the siting and construction of a nuclear waste repository anywhere in the Great Lakes basin; and be it further
Resolved, That copies of this resolution be transmitted to the Prime Minister of Canada, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Premier of Ontario, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, the President of the United States Senate, the members of the Michigan congressional delegation, and the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission.