Home Virginia Politics David Englin Radioactive Reputation Remediation

David Englin Radioactive Reputation Remediation


Virginia Delegate David EnglinOften in politics, the critical issue of a debate isn’t the one that captures the attention of the public. On big issues especially, there’s a tendency for there to be a primary debate that determines how the big public debate is waged. How this primary debate is won often determines which side will inevitably win the big public debate. It’s a lot like pre-trial motions in a big legal case determining which evidence can be presented to the jury — lose the pre-trial motions and a side can be doomed before the first juror gets a summons.

That’s exactly what is going in with whether to lift the ban on uranium mining. The pre-trial motions in this case are as to whether reasonable people could come to different conclusions about the undeniable danger of uranium mining. If the mining companies can manufacture a fake debate on whether uranium mining can ever be safe, then sooner or later, they can buy enough seats to overturn the ban. Maybe not in January, 2012, but if they can manufacture a fake debate, then they win.

How Delegate Englin votes doesn’t matter.

The foreign uranium mining interests that bought Delegate David Englin could care less whether he votes against lifting the ban (and environmentalists should do the same, how he votes matters little). The uranium lobby didn’t spend five figures buying Dave Englin for his vote, but for him providing the appearance of a good faith debate of the facts. That’s all they needed. And he gave them their money’s worth in his defense of their junket:

Some of the information we received in France conflicts with scientific studies cited by environmentalists, and I have asked both sides to respond to each other’s assertions as I work to sort out fact from fiction.

That’s the victory on the pre-trial motions the uranium companies needed to ensure they’ll inevitably win in Richmond. It doesn’t matter how Englin votes, the damage he did is irreparable. There is no way that David Englin can undo the damage he has done. None.

They only thing that matters in this debate is that uranium mining can never be safe. That’s a fact. That’s a fact Del. Englin undermined like just another one of Exxon’s climate change deniers.

That the foreign mining companies took him to see a reclaimed mine is how they attempt obscure the real debate over whether there should be a mine in the first place. Likewise, David Englin will now try and focus after the fact, pledging he’ll vote against the mine, which is little different than the mining companies pledging remediation.

When it comes to uranium mining, you can’t unshit the bed. Likewise, who cares how David Englin votes? The uranium lobby didn’t spend five figures for his vote, but for him selling the appearance of an honest debate as to whether uranium mining could be safe. They got what they paid for just like the “scientists” Exxon bought to undermine the consensus on climate change.

As for David Englin, his reputation has been mined. It’s now a radioactive superfund site. Stay away. And don’t be a sucker by listening to him say that he’s remediating the toxic waste by voting to Keep the Ban. As any political consultant will tell you, that was never what this was about, that wasn’t why they spent five figures flying him to France.


UPDATE:: Maybe there’s hope for accountability:

At the end of the day, the majority of public officials are honest, hard-working individuals determined to improve the lives of their fellow citizens. But a small number of elected, appointed, or contracted officials are only focused on their own good. The actions of corrupt officials-often with the help of private sector accomplices-undermine democratic institutions and threaten national security, which is why the FBI ranks public corruption as our top criminal priority.

As it should.  

  • The reason smart states have laws against what David Englin did isn’t just to prevent the appearance of impropriety (which is clear in this ethics violation), but to prevent big money from perverting the legislative process.

    He should be in jail for this, not in the House of Delegates telling people his whoring doesn’t matter as long as he votes against it.

    If the ban is lifted, these should be referred to as Englin’s Mines.

  • independent in arlington

    You wrote in the diary:

    They only thing that matters in this debate is that uranium mining can never be safe. That’s a fact.

    And therefore, Del. Englin’s efforts to find out if there are scientific arguments which might favor uranium mining in inherently a bad act, even if it had occurred in Alexandria.

    Isn’t the rational way to proceed on any issue – including this one – to investigate the evidence on both sides of the issue and then make a decision based on that evidence?  Are you simply saying that we (or more importantly, our elected representatives), should simply take your position on faith, and that even considering what the other side says is a matter of betrayal?  

    To me, that does not seem like the right way to run the railroad.

  • englin

    1. I’m flattered that Bob and Aimee assume I have some big plan to run statewide, as if that’s the be-all, end-all for all legislators.  Anyone who knows me knows that I wouldn’t even think about running statewide until Caleb is out of high school.  He graduates in 2017, which puts us a decade away from even the possibility I’d run statewide.  That means you’ll have to maintain this righteous indignation against me (which LCV and the Sierra Club don’t share, by the way) on a slow burn for a decade if your goal is to derail some supposed ambition you’ve decided I have.  Good luck with that.  (Personally, I prefer the scenario where Bob or Aimee move to the 45th District to run against me, so we can put this debate to the voters.)

    2.  What are your thoughts about a group paying for me, my wife, AND my son to enjoy a weekend at their retreat on Tangier Island?  We accepted such a trip last year.  It was a fun and relaxing weekend on the Bay, as well as a terrific educational experience.  It didn’t cost as much as France (of course, we drove our own way to the Northern Neck to get on the boat).  But I assume if you think I’m corrupt for having my wife join me on the France trip, then I must be doubly corrupt for my wife and son joining me on the Bay, right?


    3. Still waiting to know if you plan to file that ethics complaint.  Again, all you have to do is submit a sworn affidavit of your complaint, along with any supporting evidence, to:

    Director of Legislative Services

    Attn: House Ethics Advisory Panel

    General Assembly Building

    910 Capitol Street, 2nd Floor

    Richmond, VA 23219

  • sbenglin

    Enviro “activists” (I use the term loosely, since apparently they act solely by typing diatribes) Aimee Fausser, Bob Brigham, and some anonymous people who support them on Twitter and Blue Virginia (and to an extent, Lowell) ascribe to the notions that:

    *any fact-finding that costs money should be paid for by the legislator personally or found out by an “expert” (unclear how the expert should be chosen or paid for)

    *legislators votes don’t matter

    Do I have that right?

  • kindler

    To Mr. Brigham:  While I agree with your overall point, your rhetoric is appalling and childish.  

    To the Englins:  When you’re in a hole, STOP DIGGING. If you care as little for the blogosphere as you have claimed, then you shouldn’t feel a need to respond to every crack somebody makes there.  A public official, like or not, needs a thick skin.  

    This is a great example of how both sides can simultaneously lose an argument.  

  • Thanks to everyone for drawing attention to this corruption, as Democrats we want clear contrast with the GOP when it comes to the public trust.

    If you want to do even more, spread the word on Virginia Delegate David Englin.