Keep the ban: Uranium mining is wrong for Va.

Date published: 1/15/2013

What is radioactive; causes cancer, respiratory diseases, and birth defects; and appears to be in Virginia's near future if residents do not speak up right now while the General Assembly is in session? The answer: toxic byproducts of uranium mining.

After a 30-year moratorium on uranium mining in the commonwealth, well-funded industry sources are trying to push legislation through this General Assembly to allow mining in Pittsylvania County, southwest of Fredericksburg.

Uranium mining and milling are not suitable for Virginia. These processes generate tons of waste that can travel through our rivers, poison drinking water and soil, threaten agriculture, and kill fisheries and tourism. Most U.S. uranium is extracted in arid, sparsely populated Western states, such as Utah, where the resulting polluted water and waste may be contained. Virginia is densely populated, humid, and prone to hurricanes and floods.

Nor will the problem affect Southside Virginia alone. In the 1970s, speculators purchased uranium rights along the Rappahannock and Occoquan rivers. We could easily be next.

I do not want uranium mining in my neighborhood, in my county, or in my state. Neither do six General Assembly members who represent the affected Southside communities. Last month, they wrote a joint letter to their colleagues entreating them to Keep the Ban.

Time is short. Please call your representative and senator today and tell them to Keep the Ban on uranium mining. Type "Who's My Legislator" "Virginia General Assembly" into your Web search engine for a simple online form to find contact information.

Herman H. Jones


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Date published: 1/15/2013