Monday, January 2, 2012

Marshall Ecker, Staunton River District Supervisor

Posted: Thursday, December 22, 2011 12:08 pm

I attended the meeting on the socioeconomic impact of uranium mining and milling in the Chatham labor shed at the cultural center in Chatham Dec. 6. After that meeting, I heard and read many interpretations of this presentation. I believe that it is like when we interpret verses in the Bible. We all see things differently, depending where we are in our walk with the Lord.

With uranium, many people only see the jobs that could be created; many see the tax benefits that could be generated; many see how their property values will drop; many see the dangers of mining and milling; and many see the quality of life change for the worse as we know it today. This is what I see in this study.

The members of the Virginia Coal and Energy Commission were given the first opportunity to ask questions on the Chmura study. No one on that committee asked questions, which raised a red flag for me. Either they were experts and didn't need this study or they had made up their minds on how they would vote in January 2012. This certainly wasn't the case when citizens were given the opportunity to ask questions. There were many good questions asked about this study. The answers to some of these questions still leave us in limbo of what is an acceptable risk. Would you be willing to be one of the causalities of uranium mining and milling in Pittsylvania County? Would you be willing to sacrifice your family's health or way of life for the good of the country?

I believe that this is too risky of a project to have any acceptable causalities, health or otherwise. We have been conditioned to our surroundings of risk, and as long as it's not affecting me or my family, then it's OK. We need to care about the other people around us, not just what is good for ourselves.

After the meeting, I asked Daniel Meges two questions: how many studies has Chmura done on the effects of uranium mining and milling and if he would be willing to move his family and live within two miles of Coles Hill project? His answers were, this is the first study his firm has done on uranium mining and milling, and no, he would not move his family within two miles of uranium project.

The Board of Supervisors held a work session Dec. 14. Sen. Frank Ruff, Del. Danny Marshall and Del. Don Merricks were in attendance. On a positive note, they felt the ban on uranium mining will not be lifted any time in the near future in Virginia.