Saturday, December 15, 2012

Grassroots Momentum Growing to Keep the Ban
In spite of the lack of transparency (and objectivity?) of Governor Bob McDonnell's Uranium Working Group, there seems to be some momentum building to Keep the Ban on uranium mining in the Commonwealth. This fall several influential lobbying groups - the Virginia Municipal League, the Virginia Association of Counties, and the Virginia Farm Bureau - all stated their opposition to uranium mining in Virginia.

The mayors of both Virginia Beach and Norfolk expressed their strong opposition to uranium mining because of threat to drinking water sources for over a million residents. As they noted in their editorial in the Richmond Times-Dispatch:
While we have confidence in Virginia’s regulatory agencies, we understand the difficulties associated with implementing new processes in an area less than hospitable for uranium mining. This is not an appropriate project for our regulatory partners to learn "on the job." There simply is too much at stake and too much to risk. No amount of regulation can prevent the unexpected.
 And just this week, Lt. Governor Bill Bolling broke GOP ranks by announcing his opposition to uranium mining in the state. Among the reasons he cited in his official statement are the potential for adverse and chilling economic and environmental impacts as well as the strong opposition of officials in Pittsylvania County and the region.

But, there is big money on the side of the proponents of and the battle will be joined during this session of the General Assembly. Many legislators say they are undecided but "our representatives" are being lavished by the industry with huge campaign contributions and perks provided by their lobbyists. The corrupting and anti-democracy influence of money is estimated by the Southern Environmental Law Center to have reached nearly $750,000 already!

Keep the Ban - what YOU can do!
UPDATE 12/20/12 - Senator Mark Herring (Loudoun & Fairfax) announced his opposition to uranium mining in Virginia saying, "I will oppose legislation during the upcoming 2013 General Assembly session that would lift the ban. Additionally, I plan to introduce budget language that would prohibit any state funding from being used to promulgate regulations designed to circumvent the ban."

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