Cross-posted from that paragon of journalism and reporting Richmond Progressive Examiner.
While I would like nothing more than to believe that Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe is unequivocal in his opposition to uranium mining in Virginia until the science proves such an endeavor safe for Virginians (not for the foreseeable future), we are dealing in politics, a world where positions can change with the blink of an eye. With this in mind, it’s concerning to note that at least one member of Gov. McAuliffe’s “transition team” has ties to Virginia Uranium Inc. (VUI).
As Co-chair of McAuliffe’s Transition Committee, former Virginia delegate Whitt Clement is situated in an authoritative position steer Terry McAuliffe in a direction altogether different than the one he announced shortly following his election on November 5th. Clement was a delegate of the 20th District from 1988-2002, a district which encompassed Danville and parts of Pittsylvania County. More alarmingly, Clement is also a former lobbyist for VUI and the brother-in-law of VUI President and Chief Executive Officer, Walter Coles Sr.
While this correlation is not a cause for turning McAuliffe’s veto promise on its head, it is a reminder that until the issue of uranium mining has been settled once and for all (i.e., uranium mining banned indefinitely), pro-mining advocates will continue to spin their webs under the radar of the public’s attention until they achieve their objective.
I cannot imagine that Gov. McAuliffe would so clearly announce his intent to veto any bill that sought to lift the moratorium on uranium mining in Virginia until the process was unequivocally proven safe only to reverse his position months or years later, but in the world of politics, policy positions can change as quick as the direction of the wind.
For the time being, Gov. McAuliffe should be given a cautious benefit of the doubt. We did just help elect him, after all.