Monday, December 17, 2012

Update from last Fridays incredible developments in favor of keeping the ban on uranium mining in Virginia and VA News

Comments from KM:  Update from last Fridays incredible developments in favor of keeping the ban on uranium mining in Virginia and VA News

Virginia Leaders Info:

If you were wondering where all the principled individuals in politics have gone, Lt. Gov. of Virginia Bill Bolling demonstrated on Friday that principled politicians still exist. At a press conference in Danville, VA on Friday, Lt. Gov. Bolling came out against lifting the ban on uranium mining and milling in Virginia.

Unlike the governor of Virginia, Bolling decided to do what he felt was right by signaling his opposition to uranium mining and milling in Virginia at this time. “After considering all the information that has come before me, I have decided and today I am announcing my opposition to any legislative proposals to life the current ban on uranium mining in Virginia.”[1]

Bolling, speaking for himself, based his decision on three main concerns: the unresolved environmental impact uranium mining could have on Southside Virginia; the effects uranium mining would have on economic development, and perhaps most importantly from a democratic perspective, the negative response he received from residents of Southside Virginia about uranium mining.[2]

Indeed, it is appalling how little weight has been given to the residents and their elected representatives from Southside Virginia, the individuals who stand to gain or lose the most from uranium mining. It is as if the concerns of these residents along with their futures are an afterthought to the supposedly bigger issues of “energy independence” and windfall profits for a select few.

For those of us who are from central and northern Virginia, it’s difficult to fully comprehend the fears that many residents of Southside Virginia have about uranium mining. Their concerns are real, whether or not they are entirely warranted by science.

But this is the rub; science cannot predict with a high enough degree of certainty that nothing catastrophic will occur. Virginia stands as a unique state to mine for uranium given its wetter climate. In fact, it is a case study unlike any other in the world; there are no precedents from which scientists can compare.

Before anyone gives their two cents about whether or not to allow uranium mining to occur in Virginia, ask yourself this, would you want your family to live in an area where uranium mining is taking place? If not, then why would you expect anyone else to?

Bill Bolling’s announcement won’t be the last public officials on this issue. But Bolling’s decision lends tremendous weight to the uncertainties involved with uranium mining in Virginia, a form of risk that outweighs the potential benefits.


Statement from Mike Pucci, North Carolina Coalition Against Uranium Mining
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Sent: Monday, December 17, 2012 9:20 AM
Subject: Update from last Fridays incredible developments in favor of keeping the ban on uranium mining in Virginia

To the North Carolina Coalition and friends in the media,

Last Friday was dramatic in the good news that came our way on the Uranium battlefront!
I'll begin with the supporting news from North Carolina where Representative Ruth Samuelson (R) Majority Whip, and her fellow republican co-chairs of the state environmental commission voted to support efforts to keep the ban on uranium mining in Virginia
 Representative Ruth Samuelson sent a letter to Governor McDonnell, asking for his support to keep the Uranium mining ban in place due to the threat to the strategic current and future water supply for North Carolina that comes from the Roanoke River.
The commission has produced a draft resolution to be discussed in the upcoming legislature session in Raleigh in 2013, which I predict will pass by a large margin in both houses and agreed to by the Governor-Elect McCrory, who was briefed on the threat to our water and economy in detail last week.
On Friday, while we were meeting with Governor McDonnell, VA Lt. Governor Bolling, (R) who is president of the Va Senate and casts the final ballot in tie voting situations, held a press conference at ground zero in Pittsylvania county to announce his complete support for keeping the ban on Uranium mining and milling in Virginia, and further committed his efforts as an advocate in the Senate for this cause.
As a result, we need only 20 votes to stop the mining company from moving forward in the Commonwealth, instead of 21. There are 19 D's and 21 R's in the Senate, and our odds are improving for a victory.
 Keep your letters of appeal going to the Senators, they will make the difference for us.
Senator Watkins is the mining industry advocate/spokesman, So don't waste your ink on him.
Next came the revelation that the Canadian mining company, Cameco, who is pushing the commonwealth and paying for the lobbying campaign to repeal the ban, is now involved in a $1.2 billion dollar radioactive clean up project in their home province of Saskatchewan, where they say they can mine safely.
Hmmm seems their definition of mining safely means, if they mine where there are no people, no one will notice the radioactive discharges there, except the deer of course. this is typical of all uranium mining sites.
Its a dirty industry prone to toxic spills. Its not safe anywhere, really, especially not in a hurricane zone in proximity to an active fault line that has produced 3 earthquakes in the last 15 months where 2 million people downstream rely on the water for their lives.
There's more...Cameco is now being sited by Wyoming authorities over breeches of radioactive material there and dereliction of proper mining practices to prevent contamination, and lax oversight by management. Wow!
Finally, another "modern" uranium mine in Finland called Talvivaara has been discovered to be leaking radioactive contaminants affecting and poisoning the local rivers and lakes in that community. 3 strikes!

So there is no "safe mining' going on after all, and what we know to be true remains true, uranium mining is a high risk enterprise, not suited for areas anywhere near human water supplies. ever. mining company spin has hit the wall against "Facts"
Finally, the governor of Virginia, having completed the task with his working groups project to draft regulatory framework for Uranium mining in Virginia which if passed by all three branches of government, effectively lifts the ban in place for 30 years,
The governor of Virginia, called for a meeting to listen to opponents of the activity:
  • Our Lobbyist Bill Axselle, Jr from Williams Mullen moderated the conversation where 7 leaders presented their case against the proposed mine and mill at Chatham, and why the Ban on uranium should continue.
  • Ben Davenport represented the business community in Chatham as the Chairman for the Alliance for progress in Southern Virginia, where last week the Chamber of Commerce recently passed a resolution against the mine. 
  • Chris Lumsden, MD followed representing the Halifax Regional Hospital and medical clinics,
  • Will Sessoms, Mayor of Virginia Beach presented on behalf of the city and the Hampton roads region that draws their water from Lake Gaston,
  • The head of the Virginia Farm Bureau, who expressed concern for both the effects on the water and airborne particulates that can carry and toxify land for 50 miles radius from the site.
  • Bob Burnley, former director of the Department of Environmental Quality for the State of Virginia and employee of VEDP spoke eloquently and clarified facts about the devastating effect of mining on the local water table.
  • Cal Jaffe, Southern Environmental Law Center, was superb in his presentation of the facts of environmental consequences on uranium mining and dispelled the myth of the "safe mining" spin that the proponents have been spreading.
Closing out the presentations and representing North Carolina and the counties of Warren, North Hampton and Vance, where 2 million people derive their drinking water from in the region,
  • Representative Michael Wray, who gave a heart felt testimonial to the risk represented by the mine, appealing to the Governor by reminding him that regulations cannot control the future, while we can decide what we do today, we cannot control what happens later, we cannot prevent human error or an act of God.
 At the end of his presentation, he handed a copy of Rep. Ruth Samuelson's and the Environmental co-chair's letter to the governor and reminded Governor McDonnell that North Carolina opposes lifting the ban on this mining activity in our watershed. it was a superb ending to the event, and it appeared the Governor was genuine in his interest of the views presented.
Time will tell if he chooses to endorse the project or not when legislation from Senator Watkins moves through the legislature, which resumes duties in Richmond January 6.
I hope you all enjoy your holidays with your family, thank you again for your dedication, commitment and support on this Uranium threat.
Things will get very intense in January, so rest up! Enjoy the photo of the view of gorgeous Lake Gaston from my front porch.

Mike Pucci