December 23rd, 2020 - 6:53pm
For a pdf of this document, 201223 Minister of TRAN re Hazardous Material on Ambassador Bridge
December 23, 2020
Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport Canada
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Dear Minister Garneau,
I am writing today regarding the issue of carrying hazardous materials across the Ambassador Bridge on transport trucks. I know that this issue has been discussed in recent years, with much opposition on both sides of the border, and the Detroit-Windsor Truck Ferry is already available for hazardous materials trucks crossing between Detroit, Michigan, and Windsor, Ontario. However, recent developments in the Michigan State Legislature have now slated the Ambassador Bridge, incredibly so, as a viable alternative for highly flammable and corrosive materials crossing the Canada-United States international border and I would like to bring this to your immediate attention.
First, I want to make sure you are aware of the language inserted in the State of Michigan COVID supplemental appropriations from this past Friday that included allowing historically restricted, high-risk, hazardous materials to cross the Ambassador Bridge. Please see State Senator Stephanie Chang op-ed in the Detroit Free Press on December 21, 2020: https://www.freep.com/story/opinion/contributors/2020/12/21/michigan-covid-relief-package-ambassador-bridge/3985687001/
There is a very clear United States federal standard on how hazardous material routing restrictions are removed and modified – see 49 CFR 397.71 Federal Standards. But in 2012, without public, Canadian or Federal consultation, MDOT created a document, “Hazardous Materials Routing Synopsis Report Wayne County: Proposed Recommendations” (https://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdot/MDOT_Haz_Mat_Routing_Synopsis_Report_Wayne_County_406291_7.pdf) which recommended the removal of hazardous material restrictions – for flammable and corrosive materials – at the Ambassador Bridge. These safety restrictions have been continuously in place since the opening of the bridge in 1929.
After much public protest against the above recommendation, a de novo review took place, following the 49 CFR 397.71 Federal Standards, and on 04/02/2014 the State of Michigan provided the federal government with proposed changes to the State of Michigan Hazardous Material Routing Restrictions that superseded the 2012 “Proposed Recommendations. These recommendations not only retained the hazmat restrictions from 1929 but increased them to include the restriction of Class 6.2 Hazardous Materials. Please see below:
In the COVID Supplemental Appropriation, the language is as follows:
Sec. 601. Transportation. Directs the Department to adopt and transmit to the Federal government changes to the nonradioactive hazardous materials routing designation for the Ambassador Bridge expressed in the December 2012 report entitled “Hazardous Materials Routing Synopsis Report Wayne County: Proposed Recommendations”.
Therefore, I am inquiring today to see if you or any Canadian Government officials were consulted by the State of Michigan or the U.S. government in advance of this proposed change? If not, will you demand immediate consultation prior to any implementation of such a change that is widely opposed on both sides of our border, puts the traveling public and our local communities, economies, and drinking water at risk in the case of a hazardous material accident? The idea allowing highly flammable and corrosive cargoes to be transported on a bridge that bisects a residential community and the University of Windsor is dangerous and haphazard, and with the state of the 91-year-old bridge infrastructure, this poses a risk to public safety that is alarming and unacceptable. Should any of these dangerous substances/ materials leak, spill, burn or explode, there would be catastrophic repercussions to public safety, poison our air, water or soil, and devastate our auto industry and economy with crucial delays.
I look forward to your immediate attention to this matter and would be pleased to discuss this proposal further with you. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me directly. Thank you kindly in advance for your time and attention to this matter.
Brian Masse MP (Windsor West)
City of Windsor, Mayor Drew Dilkens
Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson
Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, Honourable Navdeep Bains
Minister of Public Safety, Honourable Bill Blair
Prime Minister of Canada, Right Honourable Justin Trudeau