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McDonnell stays mum on uranium, for now / January 10, 2013
Danville Register & Bee
Reprinted with permission

RICHMOND — Gov. Bob McDonnell is keeping his silence on the uranium mining issue, citing the absence of a final-but-delayed socioeconomic impact.

In a letter read by Del. Terry Kilgore, chairman of the Virginia Coal and Energy Commission, the governor said he had received an interim report on the socioeconomic study, and saw uncertainties. Kilgore shared the letter’s contents with the Coal and Energy Commission Monday.

“I can say at this point that results seem to be mixed about whether or not this should go forward,” McDonnell wrote.

He added: “I feel like I should wait for this final report before making a final decision on this issue.”

McDonnell formed the Uranium Working Group a year ago to research the potential benefits and pitfalls of allowing uranium mining and milling in Virginia. The group submitted its final report in December to governor, but it was missing the socioeconomic component.

That report could not be finished by the December deadline. Instead, the report is due Jan. 15.

The working group’s contractor for the report, Wright Engineering, had a difficult time finding a subcontractor that could do the work that didn’t have ties to factions on either side of the uranium mining debate. The firm eventually contracted ORI, a Herndon company, to do the work, but the late start pushed back its completion.

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