Sunday, January 20, 2013

BOS meeting Tuesday night / First uranium bill filed in House of Delegates / First uranium bill filed in House of Delegates / The price of uranium continues to drop: /Uranium mining ban bills make filing deadline for Va. General Assembly/ Rift Widens Over Mining of Uranium in Virginia


Comments:  Subject: BOS meeting Tuesday night: 

There will be a meeting of the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday night, JAN. 22, at 7 PM. It is important for this in and around Pittsylvania County to attend these meetings when possible...especilly while the GA is in session. Remember, you do have the opportunity to speak at hearing of the citizens. Remember, you do have the opportunity to speak at hearing of the citizens.

The on-line agenda shows an add on item requested by Tim Barber regarding SB 919 and HB 1804...3% uranium severence tax. that the issue involves taxes these quiet members of the BOS are willing to talk.
There is a "lobby Day" scheduled for Monday the 28th in Richmond. I am in hopes that many on this list can attend. I'll send more information on this effort in the next few days.
 1/19 u-news

Comments:  ***Please note the comment on the R&B site by Delegate Danny Marshall: "All members of the Southern Virginia Delegation of the VA General Assembly have stated their strong opposition to lifting the current ban on uranium mining.
Why is a Senator from Richmond and a Delegate from Northern Virginia introducing these bills?
Did they read the same reports that we did? Did they read the reports that the majority of people in Southern VA and majority of business statewide want to maintain the ban? Did they not see that the pro business Danville Pittsylvania Chamber and Danville City Council plus many other groups support the current moratorium ?
The Southern Virginia Delegation will continue to oppose lifting the ban and will work vigorously to defeat these bills."

First uranium bill filed in House of Delegates

Posted: Friday, January 18, 2013 8:35 pm | Updated: 9:04 pm, Fri Jan 18, 2013.

The first bill aimed at lifting the 1982 moratorium on uranium mining in Virginia was filed Friday.Named the “Virginia Uranium Development Corporation Act,” it directs the state to write regulations for uranium mining and milling.

Filed in the House of Delegates by Manassas Republican Jackson Miller, the 20,275-word legislation, H.B. 2330, establishes licensing procedures and financial responsibility and provides the framework for health and environmental safeguards.

The bill would put into law many of the ideas talked about in the Uranium Working Group meetings, such as establishing a groundwater management area around the mine and the monitoring of air and water.

State Sen. John Watkins, R-Powhatan, filed a similar bill Friday with the Senate Clerk.

As of late Friday night, politicians and environmental groups were still sorting through the large legislation. Delegate Don Merricks, R-Pittsylvania, and Sen. Frank Ruff, R-Clarksville, commented on Miller’s bill in separate statements Friday evening.

Ruff criticized the bill’s origins in Northern Virginia: 
  • “This legislation was introduced by legislators who have little interest about the concerns of those I represent in the General Assembly,” Ruff wrote. “They have little concern that the negative stigma which surrounds uranium mining and milling will have a direct and disastrous economic impact on our economy.”

In Friday’s statement, Merricks vowed a battle against both bills:
  • I am extremely disappointed that, after years of study and review, legislation has been advanced which is a direct assault on the lives and livelihoods of the people and businesses I represent in Southern Virginia,” he wrote. “Just this week, Gov. McDonnell’s Uranium Working Group issued yet another report which confirmed what we have heard from business leaders like the Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce and the Halifax Chamber of Commerce. Uranium mining is not in the best interest of the people we represent and will take us down the wrong path for the quality of life and stable economy in our area.”
He added, “This legislation is completely unacceptable and I will work with my delegation to fight it every step of the way.”

Merricks :  The way they presented it, it’s not acceptable. They didn’t put a bill in for mining and a bill in for milling.”

Cale Jaffe, director of Charlottesville office of the Southern Environmental Law Center:
  • expressed dismay at the bill’s last-minute filing, and said uranium mining and milling is still a bad idea for Virginia.“The National Academy of Sciences stated that uranium waste disposal sites ‘represent significant potential sources of contamination for thousands of years, and the long-term risks remain poorly defined,’” he said. “And this is drinking water for 1.1 million people. This is an area subject to hurricanes and other extreme weather events.”

Calls to Miller on Friday were not returned.

By , Jan 18, 2013 11:54 PM EST
The Washington Post Published: January 18
Uranium mining ban bills make filing deadline for Va. General Assembly

People from Chatham pushing uranium mining, this is Watkins!

Lawmakers will also consider whether to lift the 30-year ban on uranium mining permitting.

Sen. John C. Watkins (R-Powhatan) and Del. Jackson H. Miller (R-Manassas) are the legislation’s sponsors in their respective chambers. The bill would lift the moratorium only to consider a permit for the 119-million-pound uranium lode found in Chatham and owned by Virginia Uranium.
Before the ban can be lifted, the state must adopt regulations to mine uranium and establish a permitting process.

Comments:  From an elist member:
Last night we watched the documentary "Last Call at the Oasis"
It really brings home the fact that our water supply is being overused, contaminated, etc. and the dangers associated with that.
I think anyone who thinks seriously about these issues would realize that it is insane to risk our precious water supply by going forward with uranium mining and milling here.

Be advised...from Freeda Cathcart:
The price of uranium continues to drop:
Comments:  This article in today's Wall St. Journal was written by a uranium consulting firm and it's flawed because it doesn't address the Chinese strong investment in thorium fueled nuclear reactors. Be aware of this article because this is the type of bogus information that VUI will use to try to convince the GA to pass the uranium mining bill.
Headlines for Sunday, January 20, 2013

The first bill aimed at lifting the 1982 moratorium on uranium mining in Virginia was filed Friday. Named the “Virginia Uranium Development Corporation Act,” it directs the state to write regulations for uranium mining and milling. An important deadline is coming ...

Comments:  "Mr. Saslaw, who is known for unguarded statements, said in a radio interview, “I’m not going to be here.” “There is nothing in life that is 100 percent guaranteed,” Mr. Watkins said of the safety concerns of opponents
 Rift Widens Over Mining of Uranium in Virginia

Now, after years of government reports and hundreds of thousands of dollars in political donations that included a trip to France for state lawmakers, the issue has reached the crucible of Virginia’s General Assembly.
Bills introduced last week would lift a moratorium on uranium mining at the site here, known as Coles Hill. Political supporters say that the mining would bring economic benefits and that risks from radioactive wastes, or tailings, can be safely managed. Opponents fear the contamination of drinking water in case of an accident, and a stigma from uranium that would deter people and businesses from moving to the area.
The politics of the issue do not divide neatly along party lines. Opponents include most state lawmakers from the region, all of whom are Republicans.
A prominent supporter is the minority leader of the State Senate, Richard L. Saslaw, a Democrat, who lives in the northern suburbs. Asked about buried uranium tailings that remain a risk for hundreds of years, Mr. Saslaw, who is known for unguarded statements, said in a radio interview, “I’m not going to be here.”
Many lawmakers in the Republican-controlled General Assembly seem to be looking to Gov. Bob McDonnell for guidance.
But Mr. McDonnell, also a Republican, pointedly indicated on Tuesday, when the last research report he requested arrived, that he might not take a position at all.       
Supporters are disappointed and perplexed by Mr. McDonnell’s cautious stance so far
A spokesman denied that the governor was motivated by a political calculus over his national reputation. “He’s focused on public health and safety and smart public policy. That’s it,” said J. Tucker Martin, Mr. McDonnell’s communications director.
A National Academy of Sciences report in 2011 stopped the momentum in last year’s General Assembly for lifting the ban, imposed three decades earlier in the wake of the Three Mile Island nuclear plant accident. The report warned of “steep hurdles” to safe mining and “significant human health” dangers if a capped tailings pile leaks because of the state’s “frequent storms.”
To influence lawmakers, Virginia Uranium has poured more than $600,000 into campaign contributions and lobbying since 2008, according to public records. For the current 45-day legislative session in Richmond, it has retained 20 lobbyists.
The opposition, made up of a coalition of environmental groups, the Virginia Farm Bureau and cities downstream from the mine site, has also spent generously on lobbyists.
“By now, members are running and hiding” in the Capitol when they spot a lobbyist, a legislative aide said.
In 2010 and 2011, Virginia Uranium paid $122,000 total to fly about two dozen members of the General Assembly to France to visit a tailings storage site, which critics quickly labeled a junket.
The sponsor of the Senate bill that would lift the uranium ban, John C. Watkins, was among those traveling.
“There is nothing in life that is 100 percent guaranteed,” Mr. Watkins said of the safety concerns of opponents, adding that he respected those concerns. His bill would direct the state to write regulations for mining, including protecting groundwater, a process that could take several years. “We are going to employ the best engineering, the best technology, the best science” to prevent contamination, he said.
In south-central Virginia, many officials have come out in opposition, most recently the Chamber of Commerce of Danville and Pittsylvania County, where Chatham is.
Delegate James E. Edmunds II, a Republican, said that in the event that radiation leaked into the groundwater, his district would be one of the first affected. “There’s no waiting for a big rain to clean it up,” he said. “I’m not going to have that as my legacy.”
The issue has turned many of the region’s elected Republicans,into mining opponents.
Delegate Donald W. Merricks, who represents Chatham and opposes the mine.
In Chatham, a quaint town , the nerves of many residents are so frayed .”
Wanda Doss, 56, a clerical worker leaving Pat’s, said: “I’m afraid of cancer down the road and polluted water. You have a flood, and it’s going to get in the water system.”
Informal vote counters in the General Assembly said the House, where Republicans hold a supermajority, is inclined to say yes to mining. The State Senate, with Democrats and Republicans each holding 20 seats, is considered too close to call.
Even if Mr. McDonnell does not weigh in, his lieutenant governor, William T. Bolling, a Republican, may exert an influence; he casts the deciding vote in the event of a tie in the Senate. Thwarted by his party in his quest to become its nominee to replace Mr. McDonnell this year, Mr. Bolling has hinted that he might run as an independent.
He recently said he opposes uranium mining. 
 A version of this article appeared in print on January 20, 2013, on page A19 of the New York edition with the headline: Rift Widens Over Mining Of Uranium in Virginia.