Whether or not it’s pragmatic Virginia politics, Democratic candidate for governor of Virginia Terry McAuliffe’s recent comments about ‘considering’ uranium mining are about as disconcerting as the very mention of Republican candidate for governor Ken Cuccinelli’s name.
Uranium mining and its pimp, Virginia Uranium Inc., were supposed to roll over the majority of people in Virginia who refused to concede the inevitability of this potentially disastrous enterprise in Virginia. That is, the people of Virginia spoke loud and clear during the 2013 General Assembly session: No to uranium mining, at least for the foreseeable future.
Nonetheless, these “tough” economic times apparently warrant greater risks, risks that Ken Cuccinelli and Terry McAuliffe would not themselves have to bear. McAuliffe’s campaign had this to say on the issue of uranium mining in Virginia: “Any economic proposal in these tough times merits a hard look. However, I would need to be certain that mining uranium can be done safely and cleaned up completely before a moratorium is lifted.”
Certain? When in life is there certainty, especially when it comes to a radioactive substance that can’t even be safely contained for 100 years. If certainty is what Mr. McAuliffe is looking for, he won’t be finding it in the field of nuclear safety anytime soon.
The allure of 119-million pounds of uranium ore sitting beneath one spot in Southside Virginia is indeed difficult to pass up. But in Virginia, as in America more generally, we do not put thousands, or potentially millions, of people in harm’s way for the sake of energy production. We’re better than that, we’re more creative than that.
What we also don’t do is allow productive practices to occur where the majority of individuals who stand to gain or lose the most have unequivocally said “No!”. Terry McAuliffe is truly no democrat if he cannot recognize this simple yet fundamental principle of our society: the people are the ultimate decision-making authority.