Monday, June 14, 2010

Writer: I’m not expendable ... are you? (Uranium mining)

Future of Pittsylvania County, VA? 

Comment:  A great letter, Ms. Roberts, so true!  No to uranium mining!By Published by The Editorial Board
Published: June 13, 2010

To the editor:

Big money talks, and we all know that. We see it in politics; we see it in legal issues; we see it in the way people are treated and now we are seeing how the great greed of a group of “already haves” overshadows the welfare of the many hard-working lower to middle class folks of this area.

I am speaking of uranium, a commodity whose price and desirability have declined over the years, a commodity with the potential — reflected time and again in history — to devastate entire populations of both people and wildlife. This uranium is not needed. It won’t save lives, it won’t improve the world, all it will do is make the rich richer at the expense of the rest of us.

To try to overshadow the dangers with false portrayals of a better economy is ludicrous and treats us as if we are ignorant. We are being treated as expendable — and for what purpose? To line the pockets of the already wealthy with more lucre! France, which was recently cited as a country that has conquered its uranium mines has, in truth, closed every single one of them.

Laws have been passed closing mines all over this country due to the devastating effects of populations of American Indians in the vicinity. There is no way to safely mine uranium. Both strip mining and ISL mining leach huge amounts of radioactivity into the surrounding atmosphere. The recent BP tragedy should be a lesson to all of us that modern technology has not conquered nature’s power. If oil wells that have been around for ages cannot guarantee safety of operations, which they obviously cannot, how in the name of heaven can anyone attempt to say uranium mining is safe?

Think about this: Even if the uranium conglomerate can convince local people their water won’t be forever contaminated, their air polluted, their beautiful countryside destroyed and a future filled with more cancer and blood poisoning, do you really think that anyone will send their children to Hargrave Military Academy of Chatham Hall? Families with choices as to where to send their beloved children would never, in a trillion years (about the time it would take to clean up a uranium mining site) send them to live a few miles from an active uranium mine and importing specialists in the mining field will never compensate for the loss of these two wonderful educational institutions which define the Chatham and Pittsylvania County area. Should we tell our teachers to go get a job in the uranium mine?

My husband and I would never have sold our home and moved here to retire had we known there was a uranium deposit so close by, much less being considered as a future mine site. No one in his right mind would ever consider moving or retiring here or anywhere near a uranium mine. This is the practical and realistic side of it all. Anyone can research and find that there has never been a “safe” mine. And who bears the cost of maintaining the waste site of the tailings that will last for many lifetimes?

It all boils down to greed and what and who will be sacrificed. I don’t like being considered expendable. Do you?

Java, VA

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