Friday, June 18, 2010

Town wants inclusion in uranium study

By Mark Thomas/Altavista Journal Editor
Wednesday, June 16, 2010 12:57 PM EDT

Altavista council wants the town included in a socio-economic study looking at the effects of uranium mining in neighboring Pittsylvania County.

Meeting June 8, Town Council, in a 5-0 vote, asked to be part of the study. Members Ron Coleman and Beverley Dalton weren't at the meeting.

The action came after Debra Lovelace, who lives in Gretna, said she was concerned Altavista, which she said is about 15 miles from the Coles Hill uranium site, would not be included. She said the study would look at Pittsylvania and Halifax counties and Danville, but not Altavista.

"I think we should be involved in what's going on 15 miles from our community," Councilman Mike Mattox said.

The Virginia Commission on Coal and Energy's Uranium Mining Subcommittee is holding a public meeting on the socio-economic study's scope Tuesday, June 22, at Chatham High School at 6 p.m. The study is set to address the effects of uranium mining on businesses, schools and the community.

Last month, Campbell County supervisors also asked to be considered in the study.

Because Altavista and Runaway Bay at Leesville Lake are close to the site, Altavista District Supervisor Stan Goldsmith said the county should be part of the study.

Virginia Uranium Inc. announced plans three years ago to explore mining uranium at Coles Hill, about six miles northeast of Chatham. Discovered in the early 1980s, the uranium deposit is one of the largest in the United Sates and is worth an estimated $7 billion.

The socio-economic study is expected to start late this summer or early fall and take about 18 months. A scientific study will also be done.

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