A "mammoth" list of 104 elected officials from cities and municipalities surrounding the Great Lakes have signed an open letter to Canada's Minister of Environment condemning a plan to bury nuclear waste near Kincardine, Ont.
In the open letter addressed to Catherin McKenna, the officials state their signatures speak for millions of people living around the lakes who feel the project could present a threat to the "life-blood" and economy of the Great Lakes region.
Gathering all of those signatures from both sides of the border took months of hard work, but Beverly Fernandez, spokesperson for Stop The Great Lakes Nuclear Dump, said it was worth it.
"This is a very, very significant effort," she said. "Putting a nuclear waste dump beside the Great Lakes is more than risky it's a knowing disregard for the health of millions of people."
Reports prepared by Ontario Power Generation (OPG) describe the location as the "safest and most appropriate site" for a Deep Geological Repository or DRG.
The site would see 200,000 cubic metres of radioactive waste products buried 680 metres underground just over a kilometre from the shores of Lake Huron.
"The Canadian government needs to stand up for all citizen's rights to clean water." - Source
Waste would range from low-level radioactive material such as mops, rags, protective clothing and floor sweepings to intermediate-level radioactive material like used reactor core components, filters and refurbishment waste.
Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley's signature graces the long list at the bottom of the letter. He said three other DRG sites exist in the world and all have had problems.
"When you have the largest body of fresh water in the world, over 40 million people take their drinking water from the lakes, it's just wrong to even consider there might be something that could happen there to pollute and damage our environment," he explained. "It's Russian roulette because ... we try to protect the Great Lakes and this is a huge step backwards if this proceeds."
Bradley also maintains the OPG didn't "actively search" for another site further from the Great Lakes.
In a statement, OPG said other locations are technically feasible, but "would result in greater environmental effects and higher costs, as well as a project delay of 15 years or more, while offering no additional benefits in safety."
Fernandez refuses to accept that and stated she and her organization plans to continue fighting the site. She's hoping the letter and signatures will make the government listen.
"The Canadian government needs to stand up for all citizen's rights to clean water and they need to clearly state that no Deep Geological Repository for radio-active nuclear waste should be buried anywhere in the Great Lakes Basin."