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Upton, Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Oppose Permanent Storage of Nuclear Waste Near Great Lakes

SAINT JOSEPH, MICHIGAN – Today, U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, helped introduce a bipartisan resolution led by Representative Dan Kildee (D-MI) to oppose the permanent storage of nuclear waste from Canada in the Great Lakes Basin. Upton is an original cosponsor of this resolution along with a bipartisan group of lawmakers from across the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic region.

“The Great Lakes are the pride and joy of Michigan. They are home to a wide range of plant and animal species, generate more than $3.1 trillion in economic activity, support hundreds of thousands of jobs, and underpin Michigan’s flourishing fishing, boating, and tourism industries,” said Rep. Upton. “The long-term preservation of these natural treasures remains a top priority for me and the entire Great Lakes Caucus. We can never allow hazardous materials of any kind – particularly nuclear waste – to be stored anywhere near the Great Lakes. Period.”

In November of 2019, the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved a bipartisan amendment to the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2019 introduced by Upton and Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) expressing the will of the Congress that the governments of the United States and Canada should not allow for the permanent or long-term storage of spent nuclear fuel or other radioactive waste near the Great Lakes. In December of the same year, Upton joined Dingell, Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI), and the late Rep. Paul Mitchell (I-MI) in explicitly urging Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to oppose the placement of a national repository for nuclear waste storage anywhere near the Great Lakes, which at the time, was being considered by the Canadian government. You can read the full letter HERE.

Nuclear energy now accounts for roughly 20% of American energy generation, and Upton has long advocated for a long-term, viable solution for nuclear waste storage as nuclear energy becomes more prevalent. As a result of the growing nuclear sector, spent radioactive fuel and other high-level waste is currently stranded at roughly 121 sites in 39 states around the country. The Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2019, which Upton supported, has paved the way for important investments and real strategies to ensure nuclear energy production remains a safe, efficient, and green approach to power generation.

To date, more than 40,000,000 Americans and Canadians combined rely on the Great Lakes as a source of freshwater and recreation. A spill near these precious and critical bodies of water would have devastating effects on public health, drinking water, the environment, and the economy.

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