The following press release is from the Roanoke River Basin Association. Lovely, huh? That’s Bob McDonnell for you…
For Immediate Release: April 4, 2012
Contact: Andrew Lester, executive director, RRBA
LOCAL GROUPS EXCLUDED FROM GOVERNOR’S URANIUM GROUP DISCUSSION WITH STAKEHOLDERS
Richmond, VA – Today, April 4, 2012, a representative from the Roanoke River Basin Association (RRBA) requested access to a “damage control PR” session by the governor’s uranium working group (UWG). The UWG was established over two months ago, yet only after a series of articles and Op-eds in the press criticizing the secrecy of the UWG, the UWG leaders decided to invite some stakeholders to discuss the work of the group in an apparent show display for the press. Some of the interested groups received a mere 48-hour notice of the meeting.
Most of the citizen groups in the Roanoke River basin that have been actively involved in this issue did not receive an invitation to the event; yet, Virginia Uranium Inc.’s lobbyist was on the invitation list. RRBA was also not on the invitation list, despite of the fact that it has previously corresponded with the Governor’s office on this matter. For 67 years, RRBA has served as a voice for preservation and wise use of the Roanoke’s water resources in the two-state region that will host the first uranium mining and milling operation east of the Mississippi if Virginia’s 30-year uranium ban is lifted.
The UWG is on an expedited schedule to produce statutory and administrative regulations for uranium mining and milling process which many fear will be offered by the governor to the Virginia General Assembly as part of his package of recommended legislation in 2013.
RRBA maintains its position that in light of the findings of multiple studies at a total cost of $2.7 million and the apparent lack of legislative support for lifting the uranium ban in 2012, this issue should have been put to rest. However, the governor chose to push the uranium mining project forward on an expedited basis. If the taxpayer monies are being spent to promote this dubious project, at a minimum, citizens of the impacted region should have an ample opportunity to be meaningfully involved in the work of the UWG.
“It is apparent that local citizen groups are being excluded from the discussion. We and many other citizen groups in Southside Virginia and North Carolina are at the ground zero; our concerns should be the number one priority for the governor’s administration. However, Virginia’s leadership continues to ignore the locals and their concerns. What does it tell you about this whole process?” said Gene Addesso, RRBA’s vice-president.