Friday, November 22, 2013

Hampton Roads Chamber: No to uranium mining

By Julian Walker
The Virginian-Pilot

The Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce is no longer neutral in the uranium mining debate.

Leading members for the first time have formally voiced support for preserving a 31-year Virginia moratorium that's been a key hindrance to mining for the radioactive rock.

By a 37-11 vote, chamber officials favored maintaining the ban following presentations from mining foes and those seeking clearance to access a Pittsylvania County parcel with a rich deposit of the ore used in nuclear power plants.

The chamber's position this week comes well after several local governments - Virginia Beach, Norfolk and Suffolk city councils among them - have made clear their objections over concern that mining waste could contaminate Lake Gaston, a source of drinking water for much of the region.

"The localities in this market viewed neutrality as supporting uranium mining. That was the perception," said Ira Agricola

That hasn't happened, and many mining foes, the chamber included, oppose it, too.

Julian Walker, 804-697-1564,