More Worries for Virginia’s Environment


    “The devil is in the details.” That truism immediately came to me as I read what I first thought was simply an innocent news story in the Richmond Times Dispatch about Bob McDonnell’s government reform commission and their recommendations. I figured their report would be biased against state regulation of businesses and professions, but I wasn’t prepared for one statement buried in the body of the story.

    “The committee also suggested a five-year moratorium on the regulation of any new industry in Virginia and directing the state’s Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee to study the impact of industry regulations.”

    There is only one new industry that comes to my mind that is being pushed right now in Virginia, and that is uranium mining in Pittsylvania County near Chatham. If this proposal by McDonnell’s hand-picked committee includes no state regulation of open-pit mining of that uranium deposit that is located in the watershed of much of the drinking water for Hampton Roads, then following through with it would be a travesty. We have already witnessed junkets to Paris and to Canada for legislators in what seemed to me an obvious and blatant attempt to buy their votes. It would be nonsensical to pass legislation that rejects any regulation of a business simply because it is “new.” It borders on criminal negligence to propose no state regulation of the mining of uranium, should the moratorium on mining be lifted in the next General Assembly.

    I sincerely hope I am reading too much into that part of the government reform report, but the track record of Republican administrations and their disregard for the environment and for meaningful regulation of business makes me pretty sure I’m not. At some point, Virginians who are part of the 99% had better wake up.  Republicans are the party of the 1%, the party that worships immediate profits for their contributors above all else. It’s past time for the rest of us to vote for our interest, not theirs.


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