Monday, August 5, 2013

Well-informed about VUI’s plans

Posted: Sunday, August 4, 2013 6:15 am
Well-informed about VUI’s plans

The Editorial Board

To the editor: Patrick Wales, project manager for Virginia Uranium Inc., complained his company’s efforts to gain widespread public approval of uranium mining in Virginia has been a failure, ("Mining foes accountable for misinformation," July 28, page A11). Further, Wales places the responsibility for this on others.

When an invasive use is proposed, particularly one of this magnitude and one carrying a deplorable history, the burden of proof is massive and is the responsibility of the advocate, not the community and not the state of Virginia. Despite costly studies — some of which were taxpayer funded — no clearly defined method of uranium mining was developed which would guarantee public protection beyond a reasonable doubt.

Wales claims in his letter that his company is committed to using the modern science and technology in their operation. Unfortunately there are no new technologies, only minor improvements of existing, unsuccessful practices. In fact, his company has been less than forthcoming regarding their recent exploratory drilling, as well as their future full-scale mining plans. We ask the following questions:

» Where are the specific uranium mining, processing and radioactive storage plans?
» Has VUI purchased additional land to store the radioactive waste as was recommended by its own consultants a year ago?
» Has VUI completed a hydrology study on that land to ensure that geology of the site will allow it to keep promises?
» Why didn’t VUI follow best practices during the recent exploratory drilling?

At a recent press conference where Paul Robinson released his Roanoke River Basin Association-sponsored report on exploratory drilling activities at Coles Hill, Wales and his colleagues were in attendance. Wales and his associates had no questions and no comments. At the end of the meeting, we publicly asked VUI to participate in the discussion by providing any information that might supplement or contradict the Robinson report findings. They had no comment at that time and now, six weeks later, we have received no information from VUI.

The Roanoke River Basin Association — as do local real estate agents, medical professionals and business leaders — welcomes and encourages enterprise. And we respect those who generate it, including VUI. Nevertheless, when any enterprise poses potentially long-term devastation to the community, we must oppose it.

Wales’ problem is not that the public is misinformed regarding the protection of our interests currently afforded by uranium mining techniques. His problem is that we are well informed that such protection simply does not exist in reality, and he knows it too.