Having moved to Northern Virginia from Franklin County, which is next door to Pittsylvania County, where some groups would like to mine uranium, I understand why many in that area would welcome any commercial activity in a part of the state that is beset with chronic unemployment and all of the related problems that go with it.
However, this seems a classic case of gambling the future safety and welfare of a much larger area surrounding Pittsylvania County for a short-term economic gain.
According to the discussion group summary document available on the Uranium Working Group website, “Many participants [at the Warrenton meeting] stated general comments about risk and whether the risk of lifting the moratorium and allowing uranium mining and milling was worth the risk to the economy and public health of the citizens of the commonwealth.
“Speakers expressed concern about what constitutes acceptable risk.”
However, the Working Group has expressed its role as determining the viability of creating regulations for mining and milling to take place in the commonwealth, specifically at the Coles Hill site in Pittsylvania County.
People across Virginia have expressed their concern about lifting the 30-year moratorium both through the public meetings held by the working group, and through petitions collected by the Keep the Ban coalition.
When the General Assembly convenes in January, it will be up to our elected officials to make the final decision, based on the report of the Working Group and also on what they are hearing from their constituents.
The work of the governor’s Working Group came to a close with its final public meeting in Richmond on Nov. 27, and the report goes to the Coal and Energy Commission in December.
But the fight to Keep the Ban will continue to the Capitol until a decision is made to keep Virginia beautiful and uranium-free.
Scott Christian Marshall