Uranium battle heats up to overturn mining moratorium in southern Virginia

The Saint ReportAggregates/Mining, Coal and Fossil Fuel, Energy, Environmental Planning, saintblogLeave a Comment

By Chris Hopkins,
Senior Vice President, Aggregates and Mining
The Saint Consulting Group

pittsylvania-countyOne of the most heated permitting battles surrounding mining is underway in a very unlikely location. If you were to ask most people to guess where perhaps the largest untapped uranium reserve in the United States and the seventh largest in the world is located, how many would guess southern Virginia? Probably not many. This is where this battle is taking place, Pittsylvania County, Virginia where Virginia Uranium Inc. is attempting to permit a $10 billion uranium reserve.

The first and possibly the most difficult hurdle to overcome is the 27-year-old moratorium on uranium mining in Virginia. Implemented following the Three Mile Island Accident and the movie “The China Syndrome”. The moratorium can only be overturned by a vote of the legislature and the governors signature.

The Virginia Coal and Energy Commission has recommended that a study be conducted to determine the impacts of overturning the moratorium, they are currently putting the finishing touches on what will be included in the study and could vote on this May 21st.

Opponents have come out in force, protesting the specific project and objecting even to conducting a study. For a summary of the issue, see Sue Lindsey’s report for the Associated Press on Forbes.com.

Chris Hopkins is senior vice president for aggregates and mining, The Saint Consulting Group, emaikl hopkins@tscg.biz, phone 615 656 3794

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