The public relations onslaught by Virginia Uranium Inc. (VUI) continued in earnest this week as the uranium mining company set up a “safest uranium mine in the world” billboard just outside of Pittsylvania County’s boundary on Route 29. With the 2014 General Assembly session just around the corner, Virginia’s uranium Goliath wants residents of Pittsylvania County to see the safer side of the uranium mining and milling project to nullify the voices of those who see more cost than benefit.
According to VUI’s Project Manager, Patrick Wales, "We just really wanted to have a public reminder of the commitment made to these communities.” Wales continued, "If we take the best measurement practices that are being used in Australia, in Canada and in the United States and apply them right here, we're very confident that we're going to build the safest uranium mine in the world..."
But what has residents of Pittsylvania County concerned about most at the moment is the “presumptuous” statement on the VUI billboard. The billboard’s main text reads, “Pittsylvania County: Future home [emphasis mine] of the safest uranium mine in the world.” The problem here is that the moratorium on uranium mining in Virginia is still very much in place and as such, uranium mining in Virginia is illegal.
Among the many additional problems with the billboard’s message is the issue of safety and evidence. The billboard claims that a uranium mine in Pittsylvania County will be “the safest uranium mine in the world” without giving any reference to details or evidence of how this might be true. In other words, VUI is relying on the same tactic of playing the claim game without providing substantive supporting evidence. Are the residents of Pittsylvania County supposed to blindly put their lives and/or livelihoods in the hands of VUI?
The billboard also adds to a long line of evidence regarding VUI’s arrogance about its ability to roll over the will of Virginians. Because VUI is arrogant in this respect, one has to ask what other areas VUI is arrogant in as well, such as safety for example? Have you ever witnessed someone so arrogant that they claimed to be “okay” to drive home after downing a 12-pack of beer over the span of an hour? How did that turn out for the driver?
VUI is like that driver who claimed to be able to defy human physiology and drive home safely after drinking high quantities of alcohol. VUI’s claim defies evidence and only reinforces the conviction that the uranium mining company is a deceptive special interest that cannot be trusted with the car keys (i.e., Virginia’s health and safety).