United States Senate
WASHINGTON, DC 20510-2203
August 27, 1998

The Honorable Bill Richardson
United States Department of Energy
Forrestal Building, 1000 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 10585

-via facsimile-

Dear Secretary Richardson.

I am writing to you on behalf of the St. Clair County Board of Commissioners and our shared concerns with the possible shipment of plutonium to Canada through St. Chic County this fall.

Apparently. the United States Department of Energy is studying three transportation options for the movement of weapons-usable fissile materials, including plutonium for disposition in Canada, one of which is an all-land-based route through Michigan via I-69 through Kalamazoo, Lansing, Flint, St. Clair County and across the Blue Water Bridge.

It is my understanding that local. elected officials and residents were unaware of the draft environmental assessment published in August of 1597. It is imperative that a public hearing be conducted in the Port Huron/Sarnia area. prior to the environmental assessment, To not do so would be irresponsible and offensive to Michigan residents.

In addition, there are unique challenges facing St. Clair County which complicates this matter further. Both spun of the Blue Water 'Bridge axe due to open in the near future, and traffic patterns are projected to increase dramatically. For this season, I am concerned the shipments may be subject to extended exposure in the community. the Department of Energy needs to be aware of this situation and plan accordingly.

Finally, given the unique nature of this proposed portion of the transportation route: it it, essential that disaster response units within the local community be prepared to respond to art emergency situation, however unlikely. Federal assistance wilt be required to ensure that local emergency response teams arty fully prepared to deal safely and effectively with accidents involving these plutonium shipments. Civen the local population concentrations and geography, 1 am sure you will agree that the ramifications of an accident are too serious to consider anything less than the very best emergency response preparedness.

Your immediate review of this matter prior to the final draft environmental assessment will be most appreciated.




Spencer Abraham
United States Senate