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VUI retreats in face of veto
SoVaNow.com / December 16, 2013Virginia Uranium Inc. has signaled that it will suspend its efforts to overturn the state’s ban on uranium mining, a nod to political reality after Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe affirmed his strong opposition to mining last month.
The Associated Press first reported the news this weekend that VUI has retreated on its campaign to start up uranium mining in Pittsylvania County after spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to convince lawmakers to lift Virginia’s decades-old mining moratorium. The concession by VUI appeared in financial statements to investors that the company filed in late November.
As part of the pullback, VUI said it will not back introduction of uranium mining legislation during the 2014 session of the General Assembly, which begin in January. In the 2013 session, a bill in the State Senate to draw up regulations for milling and mining — seen by uranium foes as an attempt to circumvent the ban — died without a vote in committee.
McAuliffe, who expressed his opposition to mining during the gubernatorial campaign, reiterated after his Nov. 5 victory that he would not sign any bill to overturn the ban or develop mining regulations during his term in office, which will end in early 2018.
McAuliffe’s “public announcement that he intends to veto any pro-uranium legislation means that any such bill would fail to become law,” wrote Virginia Energy Resources, Inc., VUI’s parent company, in its financial filings. In light of this fact, “The company is currently evaluating all its options going forward, including a substantial reduction of expenses on the Coles Hill project for the interim period,”
However, in a statement issued Saturday, Patrick Wales, project manager for VUI, said the company hasn’t given up: “We are in this for the long haul and are committed to developing the Coles Hill project. We will continue evaluating all options to move this project forward.”
VUI will, apparently, scale back its legislative efforts, which have included campaign contributions and flying lawmakers to France and Canada to tour uranium mining and processing facilities. The VUI-paid trips, which the company said were educational in nature, drew heavy criticism as industry-paid travel perks.
The retreat by VUI comes after uranium opponents girded for legislative battles in at the Capitol that, in 2014 at least, are almost certain not to materialize.
That campaign included two major fall fundraisers by the Virginia Coalition, based in Halifax County and made up of local business and civic leaders. The Coalition raised more than $100,000 with events in Clarksville and at Virginia International Raceway, in the expectation of going up against VUI in 2014.
In its financial filings, Virginia Energy acknowledged that among the “primary risks” to lifting the moratorium is “gaining the confidence of the local community that the mining and milling can be safely conducted to protect human health and the environment.”
CommentsLooks Luke Santa Claus came early for Pappy Hurt and the rest of the uranium investors. Enjoy that lump of coal.
- By Merry Christmas on 12 / 16 / 13
CommentsLooks like Santa Claus.....dang autocorrect
- By Happy toxic uranium tailings free new year on 12 / 16 / 13
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