The Piedmont View

Spring 2012 Piedmont View

Dear Friends,

As PEC marks its 40th anniversary, we celebrate the protection of nearly 349,000 acres by conservation easements in our nine-county region. This is extraordinary—but our work goes well beyond conservation easements. What distinguishes PEC from other conservation organizations, now more than ever, is that we bring so many strands together for the good of our communities and our natural environment. 

Hope Porter and Sue Scheer have been fighting to protect rural land for decades. It was in the late 1940s that Porter and her husband realized what the post-war surge in automobile ownership and long-distance commuting could mean for Fauquier County, their home—unless people stood up to protect the countryside. Together with a few likeminded neighbors, they worked to establish the county’s first zoning, when any kind of land use planning was still a rarity.

When Bill Sanford was a boy on Arrowpoint Farm in Madison County, at the confluence of the Robinson and the Rapidan Rivers, the fields were full of bobwhite quail. He could go out after school, he says, and find three coveys of birds in a field before he had to go inside to do his homework. 

Building on the success of our Buy Fresh Buy Local program, PEC has launched an expanded initiative to promote strong, sustainable land-based economies--one of the key goals of our 2010 Strategic Plan. This winter, Dr. Sue Ellen Johnson joined PEC’s staff to lead our new Agriculture and Rural Economy Program. 

PEC thanks everyone who protected their land in 2011—preserving the Piedmont’s natural heritage for generations to come. Read a brief story from each of our 9 counties.

The uranium in Virginia will remain safely underground for now, although pressure is still building to overturn Virginia’s ban on mining and milling this radioactive mineral. 

Despite a massive lobbying effort by Virginia Uranium, LLC, it appears that efforts to end the ban this year lacked political support, particularly after a National Academy of Sciences study released in December confirmed that uranium mining and milling would expose Virginians to unprecedented risk. On January 20, Gov. Bob McDonnell requested that there be no effort to lift Virginia’s ban on uranium mining this year, but directed state agencies to start drafting regulations for potential uranium mining and milling.

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