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Mine foes blast panel

SoVaNow.com / January 10, 2013
“It was just a charade,” Halifax Town Councilman Bill Confroy said angrily of the Virginia Coal and Energy Commission vote Monday to back legislation that would effectively lift Virginia’s ban on uranium mining.

“Their minds were made up long before they entered that meeting,” said Confroy of commission members, who voted 11-2 to endorse yet-to-be-filed legislation by Powhatan Senator John Watkins that would establish regulations for uranium mining in Virginia.

Confroy blasted the Coal and Energy Commission vote, taken in Richmond two days before the opening of the General Assembly, as dismissive of the dozen people who spoke in opposition to uranium mining in upstream Pittsylvania County.

Town Councilman Jack Dunavant, who took a delegation of local citizens to the meeting, agreed: “I was disappointed — we were just sandbagged by big time money and were never given the opportunity to address the Commission.”

Halifax Mayor Dick Moore, who also traveled to Richmond, expressed similar disappointment at the Tuesday night’s meeting of Halifax Town Council. Moore reviewed a December 19 letter he sent to Governor Bob McDonnell requesting a face-to-face meeting with him to discuss keeping the three-decade ban on uranium mining in Virginia.

“I have received no reply to my letter, Moore told Council, “but if I don’t hear something from the Governor by Thursday (today) I’m going to call him. I would think he would respond to my letter.”

Council members were not alone in expressing strong opposition to mining. Halifax resident Johnny Bass thanked Council for its efforts to uphold the ban, and noted extreme weather could overwhelm assurances that the proposed Coles Hill mine can be safely regulated.

Bass suggested that Virginia could be vulnerable to the worst effects of climate change, citing NOOA (National Oceanographics and Atmospheric Adminstration) data that the past year was the second worst on record for extreme weather events such as hurricanes, droughts and floods.

“The fight for clean water is so important,” said Bass, quoting late activist Cora Tucker after she visited a Third World country years ago and came back declaring, “If you lose your water, you lose everything.”

“It’s going to get into our water, maybe not in your lifetime, but sooner or later it’s going to happen. You can count on that,” he said.

Bass also said uranium mining will hamper the county’s economic development efforts. “Halifax County was the first county in the state to be recognized as ready for economic development and we don’t want to lose that momentum,” he said.

“Halifax County is worth more than uranium,” said another town resident, Sarah Dunavant. “We need to keep our quality of life and stay in front of elected governmental officials.”

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Comments

Looks like Confroy and Company are not such big fish when they leave our little area. Wiser head prevail with people who think with facts not emotions. Thank God for the people who are smarter than the little politicians of Halifax. Edmunds and Ruff have waded into an area that they either should have stayed out of or talked to more people. Both have lost a lot of votes.

Comments

ONE TRACK BRAIN DUNAVANT.


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