- Last Updated on 08:02 AM 08/22/12
- BY The Gazette-Virginian
Uranium opponents seek funding to keep ban
To the editor:
We, The Virginia Coalition, are sponsoring a major fundraising event on Saturday, Sept. 15, at James and Jennifer Edmunds’ home in Halifax. We need your support to continue our fight to keep all of Virginia, especially this region, safe from uranium mining and milling.
A well-connected private company is lobbying to remove restrictions that have protected the health and wellbeing of Virginians for over 30 years. In an effort to increase their profits, Virginia Uranium Inc. (VUI), plans to embark on the unprecedented gamble of mining and processing tens of millions of tons of uranium ore that lie in close proximity to major populations and a critical watershed. To accomplish this, they must convince the Virginia legislature to remove the existing statewide ban on uranium mining.
If VUI succeeds, they intend to develop a large uranium ore deposit that sits under Pittsylvania County, north of Danville and east of Chatham. The site, known as Coles Hill, is located in the Roanoke River Basin. The creeks and streams on Coles Hill form the very headwaters of the Banister River that runs through Halifax. It is also in close proximity to the Staunton River. In fact, the same uranium seam VUI wishes to mine extends under the Staunton River. All of these streams and rivers empty into Lake Gaston and Kerr Lake, bodies of water that provide recreation and drinking water to millions, including Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake and multiple other communities in Virginia and North Carolina.
In addition, lifting the ban will open the door to additional exploration and development of uranium deposits that exist throughout the state.
Studies by the National Academy of Sciences, Chmura Economics and other professional groups have outlined the dangers associated with uranium mining and milling.
Pro-mining forces have responded to these concerns with intense lobbying of the legislature and the administration and a massive public relations campaign designed to overcome public concerns.
The Virginia Coalition does not believe this approach serves our citizens or our state well. The reports referenced above clearly document that mining uranium poses significant dangers to the health and welfare of our fellow citizens, our neighbors and our children. Until these concerns are addressed seriously by VUI or the appropriate scientific agencies, we oppose lifting the ban.
We are neither environmentalists nor lobbyists nor political activists.
We are businesspeople and professionals who are generally in favor of responsible development and job creation. It’s what we do.
In this instance, we feel the responsible position is to communicate the facts to the public and our representatives and ask them to require serious and adequate responses to the many questions that have thus far been ignored.
• Uranium mining has never been conducted in a volatile climate such as Virginia with heavy rain, hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes. Coles Hill lies within a FEMA designated flood plain.
• The failure of a single tailings containment cell could compromise the local groundwater and the drinking water supply of almost two million people in Virginia and North Carolina for years.
• No amount of uranium is safe. The National Academy of Sciences states that radioactive exposure has a lifetime cumulative effect and causes irreparable harm to the cells of the body.
• Similarly, these studies have stated unequivocally that the populations surrounding an active uranium mine will experience increased exposure.
• The stigma associated with uranium mining will have a destructive effect on property values and economic development. How many people, businesses or industries will want to locate near or downstream from an operating uranium site?
We need your support. We need money to fund our efforts to communicate to the public and the legislature what is at stake for them and their communities. We need volunteers who will become involved and help spread the facts and insist their legislators act responsibly.
VUI is a determined, well-financed corporation. They are investing huge sums in public relations firms and lobbyists. They have every intention of proceeding along their chosen path. We believe the risks that path entails for the rest of us require a meaningful public discussion, one that incorporates the facts, the science and the actual technology VUI plans to employ before the ban is lifted.
More information is available at www.readthereports.org, including the studies referenced above, or you can contact me at 434-579-5085. I would be happy to discuss any of this with you including how you might get involved in this incredibly important issue. If you can send a check, please make it payable to our fiscal partner, The Roanoke River Basin Association (RRBA), a 501(c)(3) organization, specifying on the ‘For’ line on your check it is for the account of The Virginia Coalition, and send it to the address shown above.
Thank you for your consideration.
John R. Cannon
To the editor:
Having been a resident of Halifax County for nine years, but no longer living there, I do follow the news of my second home.
I have seen the results of the long time educators’ “early retirement” issues.
I find it very disappointing that people were enticed into an early retirement, which, I am sure, was in the county’s best interest at the time...why else, were teachers going to get a good break for them?
Yet, when, push comes to shove, these long time employees are thrown under the bus.
Now, these educators and school employees have taken an early retirement, and have had it taken from them...yet, are there jobs to take them back? If not, I find this disgusting, causing people who have dedicated their lives to a system to be unemployed...
Quick response appreciated
To the editor:
I would like to thank the Town of South Boston for their quick response to a complaint that I called in.
For a couple of months now I have noticed some trees that grow over the sidewalk and block the view of oncoming traffic to both pedestrians and motorists at the corner of Seymour Drive and Factory Street. I have almost been in two accidents because of this growth.
Well, yesterday I finally thought to call the town and was transferred to Alan Auld who listened to my concerns. I asked if I needed to send in a formal letter requesting that the trees be trimmed, he said no and told me that it will be taken care of and thanked me for the information. To my amazement, the trees were groomed beautifully within the hour.
So again, I would like to thank them for their rapid response, good job.
Kerrie L. Durling
Operations and Development Coordinator
Halifax Educational Foundation, Inc.