Tuesday, August 13, 2013

We’re onto something better here

Posted: Wednesday, August 7, 2013 6:00 am
We’re onto something better here

The Editorial Boardnewsadvance.com

To the editor:In response to the opinion column, "Mining foes accountable for misinformation," July 28, page A11, it is abundantly clear that Patrick Wales’ efforts to enrich his company, Virginia Uranium Inc., are not progressing as quickly or as smoothly as he might have hoped. He implied that those of us who reside in this region are letting historical perspectives and strongly held beliefs overshadow our judgment regarding modern uranium mining and milling practices.
Wales is correct about our historical perspective, but not in the way he assumes.

Not unlike Detroit, our local economy was once defined by vibrant and profitable industries — in Detroit it was automobiles and in Southside Virginia, it was textiles, tobacco and furniture. In both cases, things went well for years. Then things changed.

Detroit is today declaring bankruptcy while we in Southside Virginia have worked hard to attract new jobs, diversify our economy and bring a renewed sense of hope and optimism to the region.

Rather than allowing history to keep us from "progress," as was implied by Wales, we have learned its lessons well. We are understandably reluctant to allow a single industry to define our economy, particularly one whose safety and long-term viability are controversial and unproven. Moreover, we are especially concerned that even one minor accident involving dangerous radioactive uranium tailings — a by-product of a uranium mining operation — could affect our region and our economy for decades.

Wales’ attempt to paint the thoughtful men and women who skeptically view the promises made by a large corporation, which stands to make a great deal of money, as being backward and uninformed shows a total lack of respect for our citizens, our history and our recent economic successes.

No wonder there is so much opposition to uranium mining in this region.

Editor’s note: Nyholm is the owner and CEO of VIRginia International Raceway.