Virginia Uranium Inc. (VUI), like its pal in the Executive Mansion (i.e., Bob McDonnell), can’t seem to get much love from Virginia’s government given the huge amount of money the company spent on lobbying members of the General Assembly in 2013.
According to the Virginia Public Access Project, an independent compiler of political spending in Virginia, VUI not only spent more on lobbying than anyone else in Virginia, it did so without achieving its goal: lifting the moratorium on uranium mining.
Over the past year, VUI spent over $572,000 on lobbying efforts, nearly double the amount spent by Dominion Virginia Power, who spent $300,000. Altria came in at a respectable third place in total spending with $274,000.
VUI’s attempts to lift the moratorium are far from over, however. Virginian’s caught a glimpse of one arm of VUI’s continuing strategy to ‘win over’ Virginian’s and their elected representatives a few months ago.
It appears for now, VUI’s public relations campaign will aggressively attempt to polish its image and that of uranium mining to undermine arguments made by concerned Virginians regarding the acute and long-term consequences that uranium mining poses to Southside Virginians and Virginia as a whole.
The burden of proof is in VUI’s court, though. VUI has to convincingly show the people of Virginia that uranium mining can be safely performed in our wet climate over the short and long term, that Virginia will reap the majority of the energy resources stemming from the mining of uranium, and that the benefits of uranium mining outweigh the stigma of this radioactive process and material.
To date, VUI has contented itself with pointing to incomparable case studies, speculative assumptions, and analyses carried out by subsidized or friendly third-party groups and individuals to back its case for mining uranium in Virginia. Fortunately, a number of concerned Virginians have refused to settle for these unsatisfactory pieces of evidence.
For anyone who has ever doubted the ability of a David to overcome the political spending power of a Goliath, the people of Virginia once again defeated VUI in a contest that the latter thought it had won before the political struggle began. While the ‘struggle’ is far from over, Virginians should take heart from this newly released information.