Thursday, January 10, 2013

It is Light Up the Phones Day. We hope EVERYONE will call his/her legislator today, January 10th, to express opposition to Uranium mining and milling in Virginia

News is VUI has packed the news conference with mining supporters It is important that phonecalls be made today.
URGENT: TODAY is a Call-In Day! Call your VA legislator and ask them to Keep the Uranium Ban in place. Below are the names and phone numbers of the senators who sit on either Commerce and Labor Committee or Ag Committee, this is where John Watkins bill to lift the ban for Coles Hill will go to. CALL THESE SENATORS NOW! Thank you for your support!
Black Ag 804-698-7513
Blevins Ag 804-698-7514
Colgan C/L 804-698-7529
Ebbin Ag 804-698-7530
Hanger Ag 804-698-7524
Marsden Ag 804-698-7537
Martin C/L 804-698-7511
McEachin Ag 804-226-4111
McWaters C/L 804-698-7508
Miller Ag 804-698-7501
Newman C/L 804-698-7523
Norment C/L 804-698-7503
Northam Ag 804-698-7506
Obensham Ag C/L 804-698-7536
Peterson Ag 804-698-7534
Puckett C/L and Ag 804-698-7538
Ruff Ag 804-698-7515
Stosch C/L 804-698-7512
Stuart Ag, C/L 804-698-7528
Wagner C/L 804-698-7507 Lives in VA Beach.
 hope someone from KTB will attend and report back.
Thursday - 1/10/2013, 3:10am ET
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Proponents of uranium mining in Virginia are scheduled to outline the details of proposed legislation that could lead to the tapping of a deposit of the radioactive ore in southern Virginia.
The news briefing Thursday includes Sen. John Watkins, the primary sponsor of the bill. Also attending will be Democratic Sen. Richard Saslaw and Republican Delegate Jackson Miller, both of northern Virginia. Other mining proponents will also be on hand.
On Monday, the legislature's Coal and Energy Commission gave the green light to legislation to develop uranium mining regulations, which could lead to an end to a decades-long ban on mining the ore in Virginia.
Virginia Uranium Inc. has proposed tapping the largest known deposit of uranium in the U.S., located in Pittsylvania County. The proposal has drawn fierce opposition.

It is Light Up the Phones Day. We hope EVERYONE will call his/her legislator today, January 10th, to express opposition to Uranium mining and milling in Virginia and especially to express solidarity with those who oppose mining at Coles Hill. Say you are sticking with us and find it reprehensible to isolate one community in the state for uranium mining.

Go to to to find out how to contact your senator and delegate.

Tell them:

1. You are their constituent.

2. The USA does not need to mine uranium in Virginia's volatile climate in order to supply nuclear power for energy. Studies show we have enough to supply our needs for the next 50-80 years. See attached.

3. Uranium from Virginia will be traded on a global market and not kept in state. It will not make Virginia "energy independent"

4. The number of existing businesses that would be threatened by potential contamination far exceeds the number of jobs VUI promises. Meanwhile, economic development in the region is being stifled because people do not want to locate a business near a uranium mine.The people from the Coles Hill area and those downstream overwhelmingly oppose U mining.

5. The people from the Coles Hill area and those downstream overwhelmingly oppose U mining and it is reprehensible to isolate one region of the state in hopes of pushing Senator Watkins bill through the legislature.

6. You resent the Va government's spending millions of taxpayer dollars on pursuing this issue when there are other more pressing needs such as transportation and education that have not received the study funds or attention comparable to uranium mining.

If at all possible, call as many legislators as you can in addition to your own. These are the especially important ones because they sit on the committees that will be taking up the bill. If you don't have time to call all, concentrate on the Senate. Please at least call those who sit on both Senate Ag and Commerce& Labor.

In the Senate the bill will go to the Agriculture Committee or to the Commerce and Labor Committee. Note the prefix for all senators is 804-698-xxxx Wednesday, January 9, 2013 7:56 pmLawmakers to detail proposed mining legislationBY MARY BETH
State Sens. John Watkins and Dick Saslaw along with Delegate Jackson Miller plan to hold a news conference in Richmond on Thursday with members a new pro-uranium citizens group rooted in Pittsylvania County.
Note: Your read about Saslaws ignorance yesterday. received $3,000 from the company <VUI>even though he is running for unopposed for a third term in the 50th House District. concert with members of People for Economic Prosperity, the lawmakers plan to unveil more information about the tandem bills they are sponsoring to direct the state to write regulations for uranium mining and milling. If passed, the legislation would effectively lift the state’s 1982 stay on the industry.
Virginia Uranium Inc. wants to mine a 119-million-pound uranium ore deposit six miles from Chatham.
People for Economic Prosperity is a 1,200-member group of citizens in support of uranium mining and the Coles Hill project. A recent news release stated it includes 240 small business owners, 150 farmers and 800 citizens.
PEP formed when mine supporters approached Virginia Uranium and wanted to organize. Lobbyist Julie Rautio, whose firm Capital Results is lobbying on behalf of Virginia Uranium at the General Assembly, has assisted the group in its organization.
“Of course it’s in my interests and the company’s interest to help them pull this off,” she said.
Rautio said PEP has no budget and has spent no money. Capital Results put up a website for the group and Virginia Uranium is buying boxed lunches for supporters in Richmond on Thursday. Bus transportation for the trip has been provided and driven by a PEP member.
Members of the group spoke to members of the Coal and Energy Commission at Monday’s meeting, including retired Pittsylvania County farmer Buddy Mayhew and the Rev. Antonelle Myler of Shockoe Missionary Baptist Church in Java.
The group’s directors include George Winn, director of the Pittsylvania County Farm Bureau, and Wayne Ashworth, former president of the Virginia Farm Bureau.
Rautio said the Farm Bureau has a hefty presence in PEP. Of the 150 farmers in PEP, she said, “A good number of them are Farm Bureau members.”
The Pittsylvania County Farm Bureau’s stance on uranium mining in Virginia is softer than the one taken by the statewide organization at its annual meeting.
Jay Calhoun, president of the local group, said in December, “We were not coming out against the mining of uranium.”
Instead, he said, “We’re asking that agriculture be part of the regulation process.”
Watkins had Miller are pairing on other mirror legislation this session. Senate Bill 919 and House Bill 1804 would create a 3 percent severance tax on uranium that would be equally shared by the state and the locality where uranium is mined.
Jackson reports for the Danville Register & Bee.

Ken Bowman says he isn’t counting chickens — or money — yet as the General Assembly considers a bill that would direct uranium tax revenues to Pittsylvania County economic development.
“It would help, but I’m not banking on it,” Bowman, who is the economic development director for Pittsylvania County, said.Tax revenues from the sale of uranium would come back to Pittsylvania County in under a measure in the General Assembly being introduced this session.
In Senate Bill 919, sponsored by Sen. John Watkins, R-Powhatan, and House Bill 1804, sponsored by Del. Jackson Miller, R-Manassas, taxes on the uranium mining industry would be split between the state and the locality where the uranium was produced. The bills are not specific to Coles Hill, where Virginia Uranium wants to mine a 119-million pound uranium ore deposit.
If signed into law, either bill would create a tax of 3 percent of the gross receipts from the sale of raw uranium ore. The gross receipts would be the fair market value of the uranium at time of sale or shipment. The tax would be collected by the Department of Taxation in the same manner as the income tax. It is a similar structure to the severance tax for coal, Watkins said.
In the Senate legislation, half the money would be deposited into the state’s general fund, and the other half deposited into an Economic Development and Environmental Trust Fund also established by the bill. Subfunds would be created, designated for the county or city where the uranium was produced. Money in the subfunds would be used solely for the purpose of economic development. Localities would need to establish their own Economic Development and Environmental Trust Boards to administer the funds. Each board would have nine members serving four-year terms, appointed by the governing body of the county or city. Those boards would include representatives from the local government, business community and environmental community.
Watkins said he set up the board to address what he perceives to be the two biggest issues connected with the prospect of mining in Pittsylvania County: Economic development and the environment.
“I picked those items because that seemed to be where the biggest concern was,” he said.
However, he said, he would be willing to talk with the county if they have different ideas of how the money should be spent.
“If this bill passes and the other bill passes and Pittsylvania County comes up here and says, ‘We need A, B and C, I would be amenable to try to work with them.”
Watkins said he was trying to institute accountability and keep spending decisions on the local level by creating the trust fund.
“I didn’t intend that we’d micromanage that,” he said.
Asked why half the taxes were directed to the state, Watkins said, “The state has responsibility, too.”
“It is a state resource,” he added.
Miller’s bill did not include the creation of a trust fund or local board.
Bowman said legislators have not approached the county about such a financial arrangement as is in the bill.
“We’re not part of the crafting of the bills,” he said. “We’re not having any input into the bills right now.”
He said his job doesn’t change whether or not his office receives a financial boost.
“Regardless of whether they mine uranium or not, the economic development offices are still going to recruit businesses,” he said.
Bowman said uranium is a touchy subject.
“Economic development has stayed out of the media on uranium mining,” he said. “That’s intentional. That’s a political football. Let the politicians deal with it.”
They are. Watkins is working on another bill that would direct the state to write regulations for uranium mining and milling, effectively lifting the 1982 moratorium. That bill, Watkins told the Coal and Energy Commission at Monday’s meeting, would be specific to Coles Hill. Miller is working on a similar bill for the House.
SB 919 has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee, where nine of its 14 members have taken money from Virginia Uranium, either in the form of campaign contributions or trips to uranium mining sites in France and Canada. Four senators on the committee have accepted trips and/or contributions in excess of $10,000.
Sen. Walter A. Stosch, R-Glen Allen, the committee’s chair, received $1,000 from Virginia Uranium in October 2011. The committee’s largest recipient of Virginia Uranium money is Watkins: He took a trip to Canada in 2011 with a price tag of $2,658 and reported a trip to France in 2010 worth $9,327. He also received a $1,000 campaign donation in September 2011.
Miller has received $5,750 in campaign contributions from Virginia Uranium.
Jackson reports for the Danville Register & Bee.
Uranium talk x Bill SpeidenBillTalkVC&E01072013.docx
Coal and Energy Press release 1/7/2013
Good morning. My name is Bill Speiden, I am a second generation dairy farmer and my family and I have lived and farmed in Orange County for 76 years.
I owned the most radioactive site in northern Virginia when the uranium interests came to lease my land in Orange County for uranium mining and milling in 1979 according to the industry’s syntilometer tests. Despite riches promised, a visit to several Colorado and Utah mines and mills convinced us it was not worth the risk to our land and our neighbors down wind and downstream.
Facts we learned:
1.After the uranium is removed, at least 85% of the radioactivity remains in the tailings piles and ponds.
Coffee bean analogy: bean in a cup of water= a bean in a cup of water – stable.
Grind that bean up and put it in the cup of water and you have a cup of coffee – it permeated the water in the cup as does the ground-up ore from uranium mining.
Radioactive waste can move via surface waters (our rivers), underground aquifers (or fractured rock geology like ours), and air (blown dust) into our water supplies and the very air we breathe and onto our crops.
2.Questions raised:
a.What effect on local property values and tourist trade in a community with uranium mines and mills in it?
b.What are the risks of public perception on the safety of agricultural / food products downstream and downwind of mines and mills?
1.Examples of negative perception:
a.Early 1960’s Russia was setting off atmospheric atomic bomb tests. Strontium 90 – a radioactive substance was found in our milk and above ground food products damaging the milk market unnecessarily before the benign radioactive levels were known.
b.Who is going to compensate the farmer and food processor for any loss of markets from windblown or water delivered contamination of their products or the threat thereof?
3.Numerous sites in our west processing radioactive ore have either gone bankrupt (as is the Atlas mill in Moab, Utah) and/or have become Super Fund sites (as in Uravan, Colorado).
In either case, the taxpayer has picked up the tab to the tune of $100’s of millions of dollars for clean up, stabilization and the continued cost of perpetual care and monitoring.
Should we ask the tax payers to take these risks for the profit of a few?
a.Our rain fall, hurricanes, earthquakes and tornados makes Virginia a unique and risky place to mine and mill uranium. I urge the Coal and Energy Commission to not recommend developing rules and regulations for this industry and further, the commission should recommend the moratorium on mining and milling of uranium in Virginia be made permanent.
To us (all counties in PD 9) in Northern Virginia it is not worth the risk in Virginia to our water sheds, agricultural interests and citizen health all of which can sustain irreversible negative consequences.
Thank you
Bill Speiden, Legislative Director, Orange County Farm Bureau
Past Chairman of the Orange County Planning Commission
Citizen, landowner, farmer

From Gregg Vickery who is watching from afar. Gregg was a resident of Chatham and founder of The (original) Alliance. Some good history on the blog...
VUI (Walter Coles and Friends) claim that their purpose in mining and milling uranium is to provide fuel for America and to create jobs in Pittsylvania County. The 3% tax suggested to be levied on uranium "severance" (extraction) is the reason politicians like the idea. They think; "WOW! Plenty of money for everyone! We'll take half for the state general fund (woo-whooo! Free money to blow, er... spend any way we want!) and the other half will go into the nebulous "Economic Development and Environmental Trust Fund" that we just made up as a way to bribe the Supervisors of Pittsylvania County to approve the deal locally".

One big problem (not excluding the many other problems) with their plan; Their uranium will not be needed for fuel in America. Nuclear power in the USA will soon be a thing of the past. A bad memory. I know - nobody wants to talk about the nuclear power industry as it relates to uranium mining and milling. But, how can you not? If the purpose of this mine and mill in Pittsylvania County is to provide fuel for nuclear power plants (who else uses this fuel?), but all of the plants are shut down, who will they sell it to? If they have nobody to sell it to, there goes all those big bucks from their 3% tax that's blinding them from the harm they will do. Guess they could sell it to China, but America's market (as well as most European countries) for the stuff is drying up. As evidence, I offer the following (please read the entire article. Virginia's nuke plants are mentioned.):
Posted: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 11:49 pmBackers emerge for uranium billRay

RICHMOND — Supporters of uranium mining are lining up in the General Assembly.In an announcement that lifted some eyebrows around the Capitol, Sen. Richard Saslaw of Fairfax, the De-mocratic leader in the Senate, planned to join Sen. John Watkins, R-Richmond, in a news conference this morn-ing to talk about Watkins’ upcoming bill to lift the state’s 20-year moratorium on uranium mining.
Other participants will include Ray Ganthner of Lynchburg, a former Areva executive and now chairman of the Virginia Energy Independence Alliance, a group that supports development of Virginia’s energy resources.
Also participating will be members of the People for Economic Prosperity, a group of Southside Virginia farmers, business owners and citizens that supports uranium, and Robert Bodnar, a geosciences professor at Virginia Tech who has researched the Coles Hill uranium site in Pittsylvania County.