As reported by the Associated Press, on Feb. 24th, President Obama vetoed Senate Bill 1, which would have rushed the immediate construction of TransCanada Pipelines' Keystone XL tar sands crude oil pipeline. Our friends and colleagues at 350.org called for a rapid response action at the White House, at 5pm, just hours after the veto. As we have many times in the past -- on tar sands, fracking, and other environmental issues -- Beyond Nuclear answered the call, and stood in solidarity with our allies. We have also joined a unity statement with a large number of other groups, calling on President Obama to reject TransCanada's Keystone XL Pipeline once and for all.
Please contact President Obama. You can email, fax, snail mail, and/or phone the White House, at the contacts posted on the White House website. Thank President Obama for his veto of Senate Bill 1. Urge him to reject the Keystone XL Pipeline once and for all. Also, urge President Obama to oppose the burial of TransCanada Pipelines' radioactive wastes on the Great Lakes shoreline. See below, including "Background," for more information on this issue.
Also, urge your U.S. Senators and your U.S. Representative to vote to sustain President Obama's veto of the Keystone XL Pipeline bill. Also, urge your Senators and Representative to oppose the burial of TransCanada Pipelines' radioactive wastes on the Great Lakes shoreline. Urge them to support congressional resolutions opposing Canada's proposed Great Lakes radioactive waste dump.
H. Res. 716 was introduced by U.S. Representatives Dan Kildee (D-MI) and Sander Levin (D-MI) in the last session of Congress. It was co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI, now serving as a U.S. Senator this session) and U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins (D-NY).
U.S. Senator Carl Levin (D-MI, who retired after the past congressional session) introduced an identical resolution, S.Res.565, in the U.S. Senate. He was joined in sponsoring it by U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and U.S. Senate Assistant Democratic Leader Richard Durbin (D-IL).
If passed, the U.S. House and Senate resolutions would be added to nearly 150 more from across multiple states and provinces, representing nearly 18 million Great Lakes residents, opposing the proposed Deep Geologic Repository (DGR). Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump has posted a map showing the locations of all the resolutions passed thus far.
How to contact your Congress Members
Your U.S. Senators' and Representative's websites will contain ways to email, fax, snail mail, and/or phone them. Or you can be patched through to your Members' offices via the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. You can also request a face-to-face meeting with your Members themselves, or with their staff, when they are back home in-district, or at their Washington, D.C. office.
Environmental Assessment on "DGR" now ending
Canadian federal decision makers are closing the Joint Review Panel (JRP, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency) reveiw of the proposed "Deep Geologic Repository" (DGR) proposal. In a Nov. 18th Notice to Parties, the JRP has announced that it will make its recommendation on the proposal to the Canadian federal Environment Minister by May 2015. The Environment Minister will then make a recommendation to the Prime Minister's Cabinet, bypassing Parliament.
After years of controversy over the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline proposal, TransCanada Pipelines' name is now a household word. However, it is little known that TransCanada Pipelines is also a major shareholder in Bruce Nuclear Generating Station (NGS).
Bruce NGS includes 9 reactors altogether, 8 still operable (4 units at Bruce A, and 4 units at Bruce B), and one, an early prototype called Douglas Point, permanently shutdown. This makes it one of the largest nuclear power plants in the entire world.
A map by Anna Tilman of the International Institute of Concern for Public Health depicts the numerous dirty, dangerous, and expensive nuclear activities that take place in and around the Bruce NGS, and how close it is to the U.S. across Lake Huron -- about 50 miles east of the Tip of Michigan's Thumb.
TransCanada and other partners took over the operations at Bruce NGS in 2002, after its previous operator, British Energy, went bankrupt.
Ontario Power Generation (OPG) actually owns Bruce NGS, but TransCanada Pipelines and its partners lease and operate the reactors. Thus, TransCanada Pipelines has been responsible for generating radioactive waste there for more than a dozen years already, with many more years, or even decades, of radioactive waste generation planned in the future.
OPG now proposes burying all of Ontario's so-called "low" and "intermediate" level radioactive wastes in a "Deep Geologic Repository" (DGR) on the Lake Huron shore at Bruce NGS, less than a mile from the water's edge. Radioactive wastes generated by Bruce's 8 reactors, combined with additional radioactive wastes from a dozen more OPG-owned reactors east of Toronto (8 at Pickering, 4 at Darlington), would be buried at the DGR. Thus, TransCanada Pipelines' radioactive wastes generated at Bruce would comprise a large fraction of the radioactive wastes to be buried on the Lake Huron shore. Again, see IICPH's map to get an overview of Ontario's nuclear risks.
As shown on the IICPH map, the DGR currently proposed at Bruce NGS would be for burial of so-called "low" and "intermediate" level radioactive wastes (L&ILRW), originating from 20 OPG-owned atomic reactors across Ontario. However, a national Canadian high-level radioactive waste (HLRW) burial dump is also targeted at the Bruce NGS. Several municipalities, disproportionately populated by Bruce Nuclear workers, and also on the receiving end of the nuclear utility's largesse, have "volunteered" to "host" a DGR for irradiated nuclear fuel. There is ongoing fear that once approved, the LLRW and ILRW DGR would simply morph into a catch-all DGR, including for HLRW.
The Great Lakes serve as the drinking water supply for 40 million people in 8 U.S. states, 2 Canadian provinces, and a large number of Native American First Nations. A leak of hazardous radioactivity into the Lakes, due to a transport accident, dump failure, or intentional attack would be catastrophic.