Senate committee unanimously passes legislation to halt proposed Canadian nuclear waste facility

LANSING—The Michigan Senate Natural Resources, Environment and Great Lakes Committee unanimously approved measures Thursday to stop the construction of a Canadian nuclear waste dump and strengthen Michigan’s protection of natural resources against radioactive waste.

Senate Bill 948, sponsored by Sen. Phil Pavlov, would ban the importation of radioactive waste into Michigan, while two Senate resolutions would call for a potentially binding recommendation from the International Joint Commission (IJC) to halt the construction of a permanent nuclear waste disposal facility in Kincardine, Ontario, on the shores of Lake Huron. Two separate resolutions would also call on the Great Lakes Commission (GLC) to intervene.

“The committee understands that this proposed nuclear waste dump cannot go forward,” said Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township. “The dangers it would pose to the Great Lakes and other natural resources throughout Michigan are simply too great. I urge everyone to sign the petition at and let our leaders know this proposal is unacceptable.”

Senate Concurrent Resolution 16 (Pavlov) and Senate Resolution 151 (Green) call on the president, the secretary of state and Congress to take the appropriate procedural steps to submit a letter of reference or request a binding decision from the International Joint Commission (IJC), the official organization appointed to prevent and resolve disputes over the use of the Great Lakes. SCR 17 (Pavlov) and SR 150 (Green) urge the Great Lakes Commission to study the impacts of the facility and take a formal position on it.

“The Great Lakes are Michigan’s most valuable natural resource, not only for our ecosystem but for our economy as well,” said Sen. Mike Green, R-Mayville. “Michigan has a long history of protecting this resource and that’s what we are joining together to do.”

In addition to banning the importation of all radioactive waste, SB 948 would extend Michigan’s current ban on long-term radioactive waste disposal to include Class C radioactive waste – the most dangerous form of low-level radioactive waste. The bill also would create the Great Lakes Protection Radioactive Waste Advisory Board to assess a broad range of public health, natural resource, cultural, archaeological and historical consequences of the proposed Ontario facility.

Several key conservation groups registered their support for the package, including Michigan United Conservation Clubs, the Michigan Environmental Council, Alliance for the Great Lakes, Sierra Club Michigan and Michigan League of Conservation Voters.

Senate Bill 948, SCRs 16 and 17 and SRs 150 and 151 now head to the full Senate for consideration.