Virginia Issue: Should Local Government Fund Anti-Mining Group?

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By Christopher Hopkins, The Saint Consulting Group

VA coalitionShould a local town council give money to a group opposed to mining? That is a question facing the Halifax Town Council in Virginia.

The “Virginia Coalition” is a group of residents from Southern Virginia who are opposed to the development of the Virginia Uranium, “Cole’s Hill Mine” in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. The group has recently requested a $5,000 donation to their opposition campaign from the Halifax Town Council.

The coalition is trying to raise $150,000 to continue their campaign opposing a series local, state and federal mining permits on the 200-acre tract of land owned by Virginia Uranium, a local Pittsylvania County company. The Halifax Town Council will vote on the issue at their October 8th meeting.

Shouldn’t a discussion take place as to the role of local governments in regards to their involvement in organized opposition groups? Should a town contribute resources to defeat another resident’s attempts to develop their property in another part of the county?  What occurs when another group who opposes something a town or county may favor, requests funding for that effort? Shouldn’t those residents be represented as well?

The Gazette-Virginia reported on this issue Sept 13, 2013. Click here  or read below.

Christopher Hopkins is senior vice president for aggregates and mining for The Saint Consulting Group, email hopkins@tscg.biz 

Anti-mining group seeks more funds from council

By Danielle Vaughn

Virginia Coalition Chair John Cannon asked Halifax Town Council to give the coalition $5,000 in a continued show of support in the campaign against uranium mining.

The request came during council’s committees meeting and work session followed by a regular monthly meeting Tuesday night.

The $5,000 will bring the coalition one step closer to their goal of raising  $150,000 for the campaign.

According to Cannon, the coalition plans to use $35,000 to continue its education and public relations campaign, $85,000 to support lobbyists in Richmond and $5,000 to cover administrative and travel needs of the coalition.

“Our goal is to make strategic and wise use of the funds raised so that we can remain efficient in protecting your community and your neighbors from the substantial risks associated with uranium mining and milling,” Cannon said. “The Town of Halifax would suffer per capita the worst effects as your town boundaries are contiguous to the Banister River. Property values would decrease and the recreational use of the Banister would be non-existent.”

Cannon said the coalition has taken a number of steps to support its mission.

The coalition chair said the coalition has sparked interest in both Virginia and North Carolina with its mission and now the have received 107 resolutions of support from political jurisdictions and businesses beyond Southside.

They’ve also initiated a broader education and public relations campaign and have retained lobbying support in Richmond to bring their message to the delegates and senators in addition to raising funds from a broad and diverse group of supporters.

“The strategy and efforts being undertaken by the Virginia Coalition have been very successful. We have been able to fight back legislation in both 2012 and 2013 of the General Assembly sessions. Since our involvement the lobbyists against lifting the ban have increased to 16, working with us representing many different entities,” Cannon said. “We have also been successful in thwarting the efforts of the executive branch to proceed with regulations while helping secure the general assembly from passing legislation to raise the ban.”

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