Thursday, December 29, 2011

Dan River Region lawmakers want to push uranium debate to 2013

Comments:  Keep the uranium ban, do not write regulations, please review some of FB's comments:
KB:  The reports and studies state the obvious. Why would any General Assembly member support spending time and money on writing regulations for this industry? There will never be enough information to conclude uranium mining and milling can be done safely in Virginia. VUI will not offer a plan. Game over. VUI lobbyists are pushing for regulations that will be, at best, an educated guess as to whether or not they will offer protection against thousands of years of radioactive and haz-waste contamination IF the industry remains in complete compliance...(which it has never done). For any VA legislators to progress any further is insane. The science we've been asked to wait for is here. It does not support a continued moratorium. It appears to encourage our enacting an outright ban on uranium exploration and mining.
BB: I am not sure why it is even a issue, when the state , by contract agreed to 5 months for the people to be educated on the study. I am sure we all can learn from this study both Pro and anti.
Marsahll and Merricks are holding up to the promise made by the state. EVERYONE should be happy they are holding the state to its promise no matter what the issue is. If they were not then they would be criticized for not doing the right thing.It will be interesting to see who could possibly criticize them for holding the state to the promise made.
By: Tara Bozick |
Published: December 20, 2011
Updated: December 20, 2011 - 8:01 PM

Because there are still unknowns about uranium mining in Virginia, local lawmakers would like a way to get more answers.

A key question is how exactly to move forward. Delegate Don Merricks of Pittsylvania County plans to introduce a bill to ensure that lifting the state’s moratorium — if it happens at all — doesn’t come first.

The National Academy of Sciences study released Monday presented the health and environmental risks from uranium operations

While lawmakers and the public would like a defined mining plan, Virginia Uranium says it is waiting on state regulations to know how to plan according to the rules, and that a regulatory licensing process would require site-specific assessments.

But lawmakers like Merricks, who still needs to be convinced that uranium mining would be safe, don’t want to decide on allowing uranium mining without knowing that site-specific information.

Subcommittee member Onzlee Ware said he would like to know what the state’s regulations would be to assess how risks would be mitigated, but added regulation-writing requires studying the site. He said it would be difficult to get those site studies without lifting the moratorium.

Ware said he hasn’t taken a stance on whether to allow uranium mining, but he believes it warrants a look, as jobs and revenue from the project could help economically depressed Southside.

“This is a question each individual legislator is going to have to answer for themselves,” Ware said.

Merricks and Delegate Danny Marshall of Danville disagree that lifting the moratorium would be necessary to draft regulations or study the site.

They are pushing the General Assembly to wait until 2013 to debate lifting the moratorium to give time for the public and lawmakers to digest the NAS report and other uranium studies.

Merricks said he plans to introduce a bill that ensures a moratorium stays in place until regulations are approved. The bill would not ask to start regulation-writing.

Marshall and Merricks also want to see the mining plan before voting on lifting the moratorium.

“What happens when we go that route, and the mining plan isn’t up to where we think? Then what do we do?” Marshall asked.

“How can you vote to allow something if you don’t know what they’re going to be doing?” Merricks asked

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