They have a new word for cash and gifts in Richmond. It’s called “getting educated.”
That’s the rationale 15 or so Virginia General Assembly members taking the Virginia Uranium junket to France are using. It’s as close as we’ll ever come to an outright admission from Virginia General Assembly members that in Richmond, how much you get to “educate” lawmakers depends on how much money you have.
After all, when do the people concerned about Virginia’s water supply get four days alone with General Assembly members? At a cost of $10,000 per member, the tab of the trips so far adds up to nearly half of the entire annual budget of the Virginia League of Conservation Voters Education Fund.
“The environmental community is very accustomed to being outspent by industry lobbyists opposing initiatives that protect the air, water and land Virginian’s value,” said Lisa Guthrie, executive director of the Virginia League of Conservation Voters. “We certainly hope that as enticing as free first-class tickets to Paris might be, freebies are not enough to sway a legislator to support an industry with such dangerous, far-reaching and lasting impacts as uranium mining.”