Panel denies Pavlov right to present public testimony on behalf of Thumb area residents

LANSING-A panel that will help to decide whether to allow the construction of a Canadian nuclear waste dump on the shores of Lake Huron has told Michigan Sen. Phil Pavlov that he cannot speak at public hearings the panel is holding in September.
Pavlov submitted key testimony regarding the dangers the proposed facility would pose to the environmental and economic health of the Great Lakes basin.
"The joint review panel is making a serious mistake in choosing to ignore the very relevant issues that residents of our community bring to this process and proposal," said Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township. "My testimony reflects the overwhelming will of the people here and is appropriate given the nature of the current agreements between our two nations-the Boundary Waters Treaty and subsequent agreements that encourage full public dialogue."
Pavlov said the testimony he submitted to the Deep Geologic Repository Joint Review Panel presented "a compelling case" that Ontario Power Generation's (OPG) proposal to permanently bury the equivalent of about 53 million gallons of radioactive waste on the shores of Lake Huron is contrary to sound public policy.
In June, the Michigan Senate unanimously approved measures against OPG's facility while strengthening Michigan's protection of natural resources against radioactive waste. The Senate passed resolutions invoking the immediate intervention of the Great Lakes Commission (GLC) and calling for a potentially binding recommendation from the International Joint Commission to halt the construction of the site. The GLC has already signaled their commitment to taking up a thorough review of the facility.
Key conservation groups also support the measures, including Michigan United Conservation Clubs, the Michigan Environmental Council, Alliance for the Great Lakes, Sierra Club Michigan and Michigan League of Conservation Voters.
Pavlov has urged concerned residents to visit to sign a petition on the issue and says the response to the proposed facility by his constituents has been overwhelming opposition.
"After observing some of the previous efforts to raise awareness and caution, I was convinced that a more thoughtful plan needed to be developed to challenge the construction of a facility that, though situated in Canada, poses significant risks to the safety of the entire region," Pavlov said. "I urge the joint review panel to reconsider what denying my comments will do to this process. It sends a message of lack of cooperation with other nations, states and citizens of this basin and indicates that the process of considering public opinion is not a viable part of their procedures."
The hearings of the Deep Geologic Repository Joint Review Panel are scheduled to start Sept. 9 and are expected to last about two weeks.