Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A setback for the ‘Energy Capital of the East Coast’

Comment:  The NAS study only roadmap is to have a real ban on Uranium Mining Now!
Posted at 01:53 PM ET, 12/20/2011
By Peter Galuszka

Plans to mine uranium in Southside Virginia did not get the boost some had been hoping for now that a 22-month-long review by the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering has been released.

Far from being a rubber stamp, the independent analysis reported that there are “significant” health and environmental obstacles with the plan, which would allow mining 119 million pounds of uranium from the properties of several politically connected families near Chatham.

Among those challenges are that Virginia, which must protect the environment and the lives of mining workers, has no experience doing so and lacks regulations covering uranium mining. The study did not give a go or no-go recommendation but found that mining could occur if proper safeguards were put in place. Getting them will take much time and effort.

In other words, the uranium mining juggernaut, which has included all-expenses-paid trips to France for legislators considering ending a two-decades-long ban on such mining, just got a big, bright yellow caution light. It’s not exactly what proponents hoped for.

Even supporters started backing away from the idea.

Gov. Robert F. McDonnell, who wants to make Virginia “the Energy Capital of the East Coast,” seemed to mumble that uranium mining should be done safely.

Virginia Energy Resources, which owns 29 percent of the mining project, put the happiest face it could on the report, stating that we now have a “roadmap” to employ the “best practices” in safety in practice in the United States and Canada. Mining opponents hailed the report as vindication of their fears.

The next step is going to be interesting. How Virginia’s business elite handles the report and the moratorium will be the determining factor in whether the ban is ended and the mining goes through.

The sad truth is that many of these people see only one side of the energy equation and are loath to consider environmental issues or even get a deeper understanding of energy itself. Instead, legitimate concerns are painted as overregulation madness by the likes of Barack Obama and his band of socialists.

And lastly, for the first time in decades, the United States has become a net exporter of energy.

This is all happening without Bob McDonnell’s fantasy of the Virginia becoming the “Energy Capital of the East Coast.” The Old Dominion is a huge shipping port for coal exports, but it involves coking coal for steel for skyscrapers in Shanghai and Mumbai and has nothing to do with energy.

Read more: