Tuesday, September 3, 2013

New lobbyist disclosure reports / A fundraiser to “Save the Lake” / As a farmer and homeowner of Pittsylvania County - Uranium Mining

New lobbyist disclosure reports
The Associated Press
August 29, 2013
A company that unsuccessfully pushed to end Virginia's decades-old ban on uranium mining was by far the biggest spender on lobbying at the statehouse over the past year.

New lobbyist disclosure reports show Virginia Uranium Inc. spent more than $572,000, almost twice as much as the nearly $300,000 spent by second-place Dominion. .

Exact comparisons are difficult because of differences in the way organizations report lobbyist compensation, but the reports clearly put uranium mining at the top.

The figures are based on reports filed with the Secretary of the Commonwealth and compiled by the independent, nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project.
http://www.vpap.org/lobbyists/lobbying_client/148831?period=2012-2013 VUI's most recent spending report

As a farmer and homeowner of Pittsylvania County

As a farmer and homeowner of Pittsylvania County, I don’t want to face the options the homeowners are facing in Campbell County.
 Homeowners, do you really think it is our place to pay $20,000 to $25,000 to replace our wells that the uranium industry could destroy?

Don’t try buttering up the people with a few jobs and the prosperity of this kind. We all need cheap and clean water!

Our family farm has four wells, and we could be facing $20,000 to $25,000 to replace each of our wells.

Would I have to pay an approximately $335 annual water bill for each connection? What would the annual costs be to provide water for my livestock that use thou-sands of gallons per day or to irrigate a crop?

The National Academy of Science quotes: “The disturbance of the land surface by mining, the temporary storage of ores and mining and processing waste on-site, dewatering of mine working/pits and a variety of reclamation activities all have the potential to significantly affect the concentrations and loads of dissolved and suspended materials in surface water off-site.
“Disturbances of the land surface associated with uranium mining in Virginia would be expected to have significant effects on both on-site and downstream surface water conditions.

“These disturbances effect both surface water quantity and quality. Many of these effects are similar to those encountered in other types of mining, although there are some unique risks posed by uranium mining and processing due to the presence of radioactive substances, and co-occurring chemicals such as heavy metals.

“By lowering the water table to facilitate mining, mine dewatering can lower the groundwater levels in surrounding wells, possibly causing some nearby wells to go dry. Affected households would either have to drill deeper wells or find an alter-native source of water.”
These costs could be placed upon the taxpayers or households that were dewatered or possibly contaminated. The alternate source of water could be us asking the county supervisors to run water lines.

Remember there were several uranium leases through-out Pittsylvania County by Marline.
Running water lines is not cheap and could possibly lead to a significant increase in our property taxes.

The National Academy of Science study report states: “At mine closure, dewatering typically stops and mine workings are allowed to flood and groundwater and local water tables will begin to rise. It could be many years to decades before water levels return to pre-mining levels.”

The NAS speaks of “local groundwater flow patterns permanently altered which could impact the water supply for nearby domestic wells, although the effect is likely to be minor overall.”

What does “nearby” mean? I live “nearby” Smith Mountain Lake, which is 13 miles or more from my home. “Nearby” can cover a wide range of distance.

Veins of water that will be dewatered could run for miles and miles. How many wells will this affect?

The term “likely to be minor overall,” in my opinion, is a nice way to say the answer is unknown about how far out and whose well could be affected from uranium mining and milling.

If your well dries up or is contaminated, you will need options. An article in the News and Advance newspaper got my attention on wells going dry due to the drought.
On July 2, the Campbell County Board of Supervisors and the Utilities and Service Authority met to discuss water shortages.

One of the supervisors stated that about 20 Evington homes were without water. Since then county staff have prepared options for the people with water shortages, not just in Evington but throughout Campbell County.
The county administrator said, “We were trying to develop a plan that could be used for the future, too.”
As a taxpayer and farmer of Pittsylvania County, I think we need to watch what is happening in Campbell County.
These options could be what we may have to face down the road from uranium prosperity in Pittsylvania County and our pocketbooks.
Here are the five options prepared by Campbell county staff. All costs for each option will be paid for by the homeowners.
1. The county would not be involved and the property owners can replace failing wells or connect to the public water at their own expense. This option has always been available to residents.
2. Extend the public water lines with fire hydrants. The county would design the project, collect bids for construction and secure a loan for it. Residents would then reimburse the county for the loan. (This means residents pay all the costs.) The total project is expected to cost $2.5 million. If all 128 properties connect, it would cost $21,500. Per connection, this covers the contruction, installation and hook-up fees. This would not include the estimated annual $335 water bill or the cost of a plumber connecting the plumbing to the meter box. Connecting of the plumbing to the meter box 8-10 years ago was $600. This could be close to $1,000 now.
3. Same option as number 2, except it would be four-inch line instead of an eight-inch line and cost $19,900 per homeowner.
4. Private well system: Property owners could dig a 1,000-foot well that would serve about five households. Drilling deeper wells is expected to cost about $10,000 per connection assuming there are five connections by residents.
5. Private cistern system is a tank that integrates stored water with well water. If there is little rain or the well is dry you can haul water. The cost to each property owner is $7,500 to $15,000.
Should Pittsylvania County prepare options?
To all the farmers and homeowners: You better watch the costs of prosperity to your own pocketbook if uranium mining is allowed in Pittsylvania County and Virginia.
Phillip Lovelace lives in Gretna.

SoVaNow.com / August 28, 2013
A fundraiser to “Save the Lake” — and lobby the General Assembly to keep Virginia’s ban on uranium mining — has been set for next Friday, Sept. 6 at 6:30 p.m. at the Clarksville Community Center.

Hosted by Ken Morgan, Charlie Simmons, David Dunn and John Cannon, the event will include a discussion on just where the push to lift the moratorium on uranium mining in Virginia now stands, and why uranium mining could be devastating to Buggs Island/Kerr Lake

Expected on hand to lead the discussion are Tom Leahy, Director of Virginia Beach Public Utilities, Del. Thomas C. Wright, Jr., state Sen. Frank Ruff and Andrew Lester of the Roanoke River Basin Association.

Participants are asked to RSVP by emailing reservations and sponsorships to tvcofhalifax@gmail.com or by mailing in their reservation to The Virginia Coalition, P. O. Box 562, South Boston, CA 23492. Checks should be made payable to the Roanoke River Basin Association, a 501(c)(3) organization.