Pavlov renews call for Great Lakes leaders to act, says ‘Better late than never’ for Stabenow, Peters to oppose Canadian nuclear waste dump

Posted · Add Comment
Sen. Phil Pavlov

Sen. Phil Pavlov

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Phil Pavlov on Monday responded to news that Michigan’s two U.S. senators will be introducing legislation to stop the construction of a Canadian nuclear waste dump.

“It’s great to see Senators Stabenow and Peters finally joining this fight by echoing the plan I put forth a year ago. I suppose it’s better late than never,” said Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township. “Invoking the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 is absolutely the right strategy, and a review by the International Joint Committee is our best opportunity to prevent this nuclear waste repository from being built near Lake Huron and potentially jeopardizing the entire Great Lakes basin.

“The Michigan Senate passed this very resolution in June 2014, and since then more than 100 Michigan communities have passed local resolutions in opposition to the Canadians’ proposal. Others can join the fight by signing the petition at www.ProtectLakeHuron.com.”

Under the 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty, the International Joint Commission (IJC), made up of individuals appointed from the U.S. and Canada, is authorized to address international matters relative to the U.S. and Canadian interests in protecting the Great Lakes.

The 2014 legislation sponsored by Pavlov and other state lawmakers called on the U.S. to invoke IJC provisions to stop the construction of the nuclear waste disposal facility in Kincardine, Ontario, near the shores of Lake Huron. The measures also urged the legislatures and governors in the seven other Great Lakes states to submit the same request for the U.S. to invoke IJC provisions.

“I once again call on the leaders of the Great Lakes states to demand that federal officials step in to prevent the construction of this site,” Pavlov said.

In September 2014, Pavlov addressed a Canadian panel deciding whether to allow construction of the Kincardine site. He cited Canadian opposition to a similar U.S. plan in the 1980s regarding a site that would have been built at a much safer distance from the Canadian border.

“Canadian officials were troubled about possible nuclear waste 25 miles from their border or near a shared watershed,” Pavlov said. “Today, they should be extremely disturbed that a Canadian company wants to bury 7 million cubic feet of radioactive waste less than one mile from the shore of Lake Huron — a decision that could devastate the largest supply of fresh water in the world.”

On May 6, 2015, Canada’s Deep Geologic Repository Joint Review Panel (JRP) announced that it had recommended the construction of the waste site.

Canadian Minister of the Environment Leona Aglukkaq is expected to announce in December whether she has approved the JRP’s recommendation.