Following the defeat of Sen. John Watkin’s (R-Powhatan) attempt to lift the uranium mining moratorium in Virginia, the legislator from Powhatan requested the governor use his power to force relevant state agencies to begin drafting uranium mining regulations anyways. Someone got to tell Watkins that the will of the people overrides his own.
For Watkins, Virginia’s deposit or uranium ore is a “blessing,” and failing to dig it all up and consume it “is to bury our heads in the sand along with the Nation’s most valuable uranium deposit.” Yes, it is quite valuable! But is it safe, I mean unequivocally safe? No!
The senators from the Southside who wrote McDonnell with their concerns are as follows: Del. Tommy Wright of Lunenberg County; Del. Danny Marshall of Danville; Del. Don Merricks of Pittsylvania County; Sen. Bill Stanley of Franklin County; Sen. Frank Ruff of Mecklenburg County; and Del. James Edmunds of Halifax County.
Unfortunately, there is cause to be concerned that Gov. McDonnell is seriously considered pushing relevant state agencies to begin drafting uranium mining regulations.
HB 1790, which will establish the so-called Virginia Nuclear Energy Consortium Authority, appears to be the perfect vehicle for undermining the democratic process by actually developing regulations for uranium mining.
According to the Daily Progress, the VNECA “would be exempted from a whole raft of laws that are designed to protect the public — the Freedom of Information Act, as well as provisions of the State and Local Government Conflict of Interests Act, Investment of Public Funds Act, Government Data Collection and Dissemination Practices Act, Public Procurement Act.”
That’s right, folks, it looks like McDonnell and his uranium mining supporting backers have pulled the old smoke-screen political trick. Give the public something to focus on while another gem is slipped through the legislature that achieves the same goal. Multiple fronts are used but only one gets the public’s attention. I’m almost tempted to tip my hat to them for their incredible duplicity.
But both sides should know by now that neither side will relent, not anytime soon. Just as there is a lot of money on the line, there are also the lives of thousands of Virginians at stake. Big deal, right?!
And so the battle for a clean environment and untarnished human health continues…