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Air and Water At Risk in Michigan

Two significant new Canadian industrial projects - a heavy oil mega-refinery and an underground radioactive waste repository - have residents and business in Michigan sounding alarms.

Shell Canada plans to build an oil refinery along the shores of the St. Clair river, which currently runs through farmland, and plays host to a number of marinas. The refinery will take up five miles of the shoreline, directly across from St. Clair and Marine City. The target output of the refinery is 250,000 barrels a day of heavy, crude oil from Canada's tar sands project.

And, officials in the province of Ontario are planning to dig 2,150 feet below the ground near Lake Huron, across from an area known as Michigan's Thumb, to bury low and medium level radioactive waste. The toxic waste originates from 20 nuclear plants in Canada. Officials plan to continue burying waste in this hole for at least 100 years.

Residents of Michigan are understandably concerned over the potential for toxic contamination from either or both of these facilities. A leak could affect the drinking water, and surrounding farmland. Officials at the water quality board in Macomb, Michigian, report that the environmental study for the refinery did not take into account drinking-water intakes for three cities on the U.S. side a few miles downstream from the plant.

Over the past two decades there have been hundreds of spills of oil and toxic chemicals into the river from plants.

Search for: Canada proposes refinery, dump

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Published on Jun-9-08


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