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Supreme Court to hear VUI lawsuit aiming to overturn mining ban / May 21, 2018

The Supreme Court has agreed to review Virginia Uranium’s lawsuit that seeks to overturn the state’s longstanding ban on uranium mining.

In a one-line order issued Monday morning, the justices granted a petition of certiorari that the company sought in response to an appellate court ruling dismissing VUI’s lawsuit. Under cert petitions, losing parties ask the Supreme Court to re-examine lower court decisions.

The company went to federal court last year to nullify Virginia’s decades-old moratorium on uranium mining, first imposed in 1982 in response to efforts to mine the Coles Hill ore deposit near Chatham.

By agreeing to hear the case, the Supreme Court will review the reasoning by a panel of judges on the Richmond-based Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which split 2-1 on the merits of VUI's case. “A decision to grant or deny cert is not a decision on the merits,” said Cale Jaffe, director of the Environmental and Regulatory Law Clinic at the University of Virginia School of Law. “I’d admonish people not to read more into it than there is.”

In the lawsuit, Virginia Uranium argues that the 1954 Atomic Energy Act assigns regulatory authority over uranium mining to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, not to states where mining and milling operations would take place. The company gained an assist in March when the Justice Department filed a supplemental brief supporting the company’s position on the matter.

This story will be updated.

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IF they overturn it, the state needs to make sure that every resident in the county gets like a 25k payment tax free.



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