Resolution Urges Biden Administration to Work with Canada to Find Alternative Location

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin is joining her Senate colleagues, led by Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), in introducing a resolution opposing Canada’s placement of a permanent nuclear waste storage site near the shared Great Lakes Basin. Canada is currently considering a storage site at South Bruce, just 30 miles from Lake Huron. The resolution urges President Biden and his administration to work with the Canadian government to find an alternative location to permanently store nuclear waste that does not pose a threat to the Great Lakes.

U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) are also cosponsors of the resolution.

“Protecting and preserving the Great Lakes is not just an environmental goal, it is an economic necessity for Wisconsin,” said Senator Baldwin. “Our Great Lakes provide fresh water for drinking and are a critical part of our economy, helping support good-paying jobs in tourism, recreation, transportation, and trade. We do not want Canada permanently storing nuclear waste in the Great Lakes Basin, and the President and Secretary of State should make that clear to Canada.”

“Placing a nuclear waste facility next to one of the world’s largest supplies of freshwater makes absolutely no sense and is dangerous. Our Great Lakes are central to our Michigan way of life and any nuclear waste spill would be devastating. I strongly urge our Canadian neighbors to make the right choice and stop any plans to store nuclear waste so close to the Great Lakes,” said Senator Stabenow.

“It’s simple: hazardous nuclear waste should not be stored anywhere near the Great Lakes. Not only do they provide drinking water to millions of Americans and Canadians – they are also an economic and ecological treasure,” said Senator Peters. “Any accident could be long-term and catastrophic – and could directly threaten the health and well-being of Michiganders. I strongly oppose this proposal from the Canadian government and urge them to reconsider.”

“The Great Lakes are a national treasure, providing clean drinking water to millions of people,” said Senator Klobuchar. “As we work to ensure the safety of all who benefit from the Great Lakes, preventing nuclear waste from being stored nearby must be a priority. As one of the vice-chairs of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, I am glad to join my colleagues in introducing this resolution and will keep fighting to ensure Minnesotans can continue to safely enjoy the Great Lakes for years to come.”

“Lake Michigan and the greater Great Lakes Basin are not only vital natural resources to the state of Illinois, but also national treasures that we must protect and preserve. We cannot in good faith allow the Canadian Government to permanently store nuclear waste in the Great Lakes Basin,” said Senator Durbin. “This resolution will not only preserve the long-term vitality of the Great Lakes, but also protect the communities that surround them from the dangers associated with toxic pollution. Safeguarding the health and vibrancy of the Great Lakes is a top priority, and this resolution is a necessary step in the right direction.”

“For years, communities across the U.S. have been forced to house nuclear waste, despite the significant negative social and economic impacts,” said Senator Duckworth. “I agree that we need a long term storage solution for nuclear waste but the Great Lakes region, an absolutely vital water resource for millions of Americans, should not be that solution. I’m proud to join this resolution with my colleagues because I’m committed to doing all I can to protect our nation’s water.”

“The Great Lakes provide clean, affordable drinking water to 40 million people, and we need to continue to take action to keep them clean and safe,” said Senator Brown. “This legislation recognizes the importance of developing, implementing, and enforcing the practices that will keep nuclear waste out of the Great Lakes.”

“It is unconscionable to think that placing a nuclear waste storage facility along the Great Lakes is a good idea,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The Great Lakes are an important natural, economic, and recreation resource for New York. A facility of this type would threaten the public safety of those who live along the coastline and could have devastating environmental consequences.”

Over 40 million people in the United States and Canada get their drinking water from the Great Lakes. Meanwhile, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization, a nonprofit created by the Canadian government, is proposing to build a permanent nuclear waste repository at South Bruce to store high-level nuclear waste in the Great Lakes Basin. The highly toxic waste could take tens of thousands of years to decompose to safe levels.

A copy of the resolution is available here.

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