Tag: VA Uranium Inc.
President Obama took another step towards protecting Americans and their natural environment today, banning new uranium mining claims situated around one of America's most noteworthy physical attractions, the Grand Canyon. However, opponents of the new ban have assailed President Obama's decision with the usual counter-argument: banning uranium mining is a "job killer." Of course, when these claims are made, no effort is made to put forward data regarding how many jobs will actually be "killed." Thankfully, one arm of that terrible institution, the federal government, keeps data on uranium mining jobs in the U.S., the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
In 2010 (the latest year for which data is available), there were 7,209 uranium drilling holes in the U.S., covering 4.9 million feet. In the same year there was a total of 1,073 uranium mining jobs (including exploration, mining, milling, processing, and reclamation). A quick calculation reveals that for every drilling hole in the U.S., less than 1 job is created (0.15). Not exactly an economic boom of extravagant proportions!
Furthermore, data for 2010 actually showed an increase in drilling holes with a decrease in uranium mining jobs.
In betwixt and between the discussions over whether or not to lift the uranium mining ban in Virginia, the opinion of Southside Virginians on the issue has rarely been sought, at least not often enough, in public and private spheres alike. However, the recent bipartisan letter by Southside political representatives Sen. Frank N. Ruff Jr. and Dels. James E. Edmunds, Danny W. Marshall, Donald W. Merricks, and Thomas C. Wright Jr. cast a long shadow of a doubt about the appropriateness of lifting a uranium mining ban that would primarily affect Southside Virginians.
"We are being asked to push through a proposal to lift a 30-year-old ban on an industry with an abysmal environmental record that, under the most optimistic assumptions, experts conclude the most that can be expected is to reduce some of the quite serious risks to the health and welfare of the surrounding community."
Would those of us in central and northern Virginia find it appropriate if Southside Virginians ultimately determined whether or not uranium mining would take place in our back yards, so to speak? I'm guessing not. So why should the inverse be true? Why should political representatives from central and northern Virginia vote directly against the wishes of Southside residents and their political representatives?
Before a full house in House Room D of the Virginia General Assembly building, the National Academy of Sciences presented their long awaited report on uranium mining in VA.
A source with the Virginia Conservation Network told me that there were probably somewhere between 60-75 Virginia Uranium Inc. lobbyists, including their respective staffers. That is, a possible 60-75 individuals representing the interests of VUI out of a room whose maximum occupancy is 365 people.
Those in opposition to lifting the ban on uranium mining were out in impressive force too, however. Our state representatives certainly felt their presence at the subcommittee meeting on uranium mining.
Aside from the attempts to undercut the integrity of the NAS released study on uranium mining in VA (which, ironically, did not actually study any specific sites for uranium mining in VA) by Del. Bill Janis (R-56th District), the meeting demonstrated Virginia's need to move prudently and cautiously towards the idea of lifting the ban on uranium mining in VA.
First, a robust public participation process must be established before the uranium mining can even be considered a possibility in VA. Secondly, best management practices must be put into place to decrease the risks involved with uranium mining and milling. Third, regulatory structures and guidelines must be established to ensure that human and environmental safety is protected in the commonwealth in the short and long run. These are perhaps the most essential steps yet to be taken by our state government.