Feeling The Heat On Uranium Mining In Virginia

Roanoke River, VA

Roanoke River, VA | Dan River Basin Association

Uranium mining is a hot topic right now in Virginia.  You might remember that American Rivers listed the Roanoke River as one of America’s Most Endangered Rivers® of 2011 due to a proposed uranium mine.  Since that time, the Virginia legislature has been talking about whether or not to lift a 30-year ban on uranium mining in Virginia. 

Recently, the Virginia Pilot’s Editorial Board issued a clear and concise summary of recent activity with this issue.  Their ultimate conclusion is key— that the local taxpayers will ultimately have to shoulder the burden of maintaining the radioactive waste from this mine in perpetuity.  Thirty years or so of mine production is not worth thousands of years of radioactive waste maintenance.  The Roanoke Times Editorial Board agrees.

Similarly, the Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce recently voiced their opposition to lifting the ban, as did Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling

Opposition to the mine has even starting flowing in from across the border, as the
North Carolina General Assembly’s Environmental Review Commission sent a letter to the Governor of Virginia on December 13 outlining its reasons for opposing the lifting of the mining ban.

These entities join the already extensive list of groups who oppose lifting the ban on uranium mining in Virginia. 

The Governor’s Uranium Mining Working Group recently reported its findings on regulatory needs associated with potentially lifting the uranium mining ban.  The list included basically everything because the state has no regulatory structure in place for this type of industrial development.

Virginia Uranium Inc. will continue to lobby the Virginia General Assembly to end the state’s 30-year moratorium on uranium mining.  Sen. John Watkins (R-Midlothian) says he will sponsor legislation during the upcoming session to end the ban. 

The fight is not over. 

  • If you are a resident of Virginia, tell your legislator that you care too much about the Roanoke River and the water it supplies to thousands of area residents to allow the ban on uranium mining to be lifted!  Also, you can sign this petition from Keep The Ban to retain the momentum on this important issue.

If you would like to have more information before forming your own opinion on this issue, Keep The Ban has compiled a list of scientific studies to examine the issue of uranium mining in Virginia.