Canadian panel reverses decision, allows Pavlov to speak at hearing
KINCARDINE, Ontario—State Sen. Phil Pavlov addressed a Canadian panel on Thursday regarding the dangers a nuclear waste dump would pose to the environmental and economic health of the Great Lakes basin.
Pavlov spoke before the Deep Geologic Repository Joint Review Panel, which will decide whether to allow construction of the proposed facility on the shores of Lake Huron. The panel had earlier denied Pavlov the right to speak, but they reversed their decision this week.
Citing Canadian opposition to a similar U.S. plan in the 1980s, Pavlov asked the panel to adhere to the standard their own government set for nuclear waste storage.
In a statement dated Jan. 16, 1986, the Honorable Joe Clark—Canada’s then-secretary-of-state for external affairs—expressed opposition to the U.S. Nuclear Waste Repository Program regarding “any development that could present a transboundary threat to the welfare of Canadians or the integrity of the Canadian environment.”
“Canada has set the precedent, and I am requesting you follow that precedent and find an alternative location for this DGR,” said Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township. “Ontario Power Generation’s proposal to permanently bury radioactive waste on the shore of Lake Huron is contrary to sound public policy and breeches the responsibility we are all obliged to carry out as policymakers within the Great Lakes basin.”
Specifically, the Canadian foreign minister’s 1986 statement opposed a potential site in Maine—the Bottle Lake complex—located within 25 miles of the border and possibly at least partially in the St. Croix River watershed. The statement also opposed potential sites in Minnesota and Wisconsin because they were “in drainage basins that eventually flow into Canada”—including the Red River basin and the Great Lakes basin.
“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. This plan cannot go forward.”
In June, the Michigan Senate unanimously approved measures designed to halt construction of the Lake Huron facility while strengthening Michigan’s protection of natural resources against radioactive waste. Since then, nearly 70 communities across Michigan’s Thumb region have passed official resolutions in support of the measures.
Pavlov continues to urge concerned residents to visit www.ProtectLakeHuron.com to sign a petition on the issue.
The hearings of the Deep Geologic Repository Joint Review Panel began on Tuesday and are expected to last about two weeks.
A copy of the 1986 “Statement Discours” by the Canadian Secretary of State for External Affairs can be seen here.