Virginia's Uranium Mining Moratorium

Virginia's Uranium Mining Moratorium

Learn about the risks associated with uranium mining in a humid climate like exists in Virginia and find out how you can help prevent the mining moratorium from being lifted.

  • Uranium Mining: Going...Going...Gone?

    We fought for our air, we fought for our water, and we fought for our soils. We fought for economic development that plays off the region’s strengths without jeopardizing existing businesses and economic engines. We fought for an enlightened vision of the Commonwealth’s future—and it worked. VA’s legislators couldn’t ignore the overwhelming support of the ban, and the four bills were killed before they came out of committee.

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  • Gov. McDonnell's Uranium Mining Group

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    Gov. McDonnell’s Uranium Working Group—the first step to lifting VA’s moratorium on uranium mining and milling in 2013? Read our article from The Piedmont View.

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  • National Academy of Sciences Report Confirms Unprecedented Risk

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    The much-anticipated National Academy of Sciences report on uranium mining in Virginia has finally been released.  The report confirms that mining in the Commonwealth would expose Virginians to serious risks of radioactive contamination of our water, air, land and farm products. 

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  • Video Highlights the Risks for Virginia

    Learn more about uranium mining and the potential consequences in this video produced by The Southern Environmental Law Center and The Piedmont Environmental Council.

    Sign the petition to keep the ban >>

     

Uranium Mining's Legacy

After a Town is Buried, Controversy Still Rages

Jan 17, 2013
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In Colorado and Virginia residents debate whether proposed uranium mills will help or hinder their economies.To reach the place where an entire town had been dismantled and buried in a Superfund cleanup, I traveled through coils of red rock canyons—sheer cliffs that enclosed the Dolores and San Miguel Rivers in southwest Colorado. My guide, Jennifer Thurston, who directs of a mining watchdog group called INFORM Colorado, told me that the tops of these mesas are dotted with old uranium…

The Poisoned Well

Jan 17, 2013
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What can a Superfund site in Colorado tell us about potential uranium mining and milling in Virginia?Sharyn Cunningham and her family drank from a poisoned well for eight years. When they bought property in Cañon City, Colo., in 1994, they had their two wells tested—but just for normal water quality issues, not for radioactivity or heavy metals. They didn’t know that the groundwater below their home had been infiltrated by toxic waste from the Cotter Corporation’s uranium mill on the edge of…

The Curse of the Yellow Powder

Dec 02, 2012
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Is it possible to restore a landscape damaged by uranium? Ask the Navajo in New Mexico.This fall, near Teddy Nez’s house on the Navajo reservation near Gallup, N.M., men in earth-moving equipment were scraping away the topsoil, up to three feet deep, which had been contaminated by radioactivity from abandoned uranium mines. In earlier phases of this project, starting in 2007, crews had torn out 100-year-old junipers and piñon pines and had clawed earth away from the remaining trees, which…

More on Virginia's Uranium Mining Moratorium

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    Jun 04, 2013

    Virginia Uranium Proponents are Desperate

    Just a few short months ago the Virginia General Assembly responded to the will of the people -- legislators were forced to withdraw a bill that would have lifted the state-wide ban on Uranium mining. As we said then, this was an important victory, but not the final one. Now as we near the end of Governor McDonnell's term, mining backers are conducting a heavy handed PR campaign. They are hoping to persuade the Governor to act against the will of the General Assembly -- pressuring him to draft rules that would lift the decades old ban on uranium mining and milling in Virginia. This text was taken from an email alert sent out on June 4th, 2013. Read More
  • Piedmont Environmental Council
    Jan 31, 2013

    Uranium Mining... Going, Going, Gone?

    After a big push, Uranium mining proponents have realized they simply don't have the votes. Seeing the writing on the wall, Senator John C. Watkins (R - Powhatan) officially withdrew his bill to lift the ban this afternoon. My co-worker Rob and I were there, and quite frankly it was pretty exciting. We were a part of a packed crowd from around the state who had traveled to Richmond to show support for keeping the ban. It was great to have something go our way. Continue reading this January 31st email alert: Read More
  • Jan 25, 2013

    Time To Write Your State Reps About Uranium

    The bills to lift the ban on uranium mining and milling have officially hit Richmond. Despite widespread opposition from local governments and businesses, HB 2330 and SB 1353 were submitted and are now moving through their respective committees -- putting the health of Virginia's air, water and ultimately its people at risk. Unfortunately, these bills are as bad as we expected them to be. Proponents claim that mining would be limited to Pittsylvania County, but the bills are drafted in a way that would allow mining throughout the Commonwealth with simple amendments. Continue reading this January 25th email alert: Read More
  • Feb 24, 2012

    Introduction to the Uranium Mining Issue

    Uranium mining in Virginia poses many risks to the health of residents and the viability of the rural economy. Learn more about the uranium mining moratorium issue and how PEC plans to move forward after the issue failed to come up in this General Assembly session. Read More
  • Feb 09, 2012

    Socioeconomic Study on Uranium Mining Released

    A newly released study by Chmura Associates projects that "the adverse economic impact under the worst-case scenario is nearly twice as great as the corresponding positive impact in our best-case scenario." Read More
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    Feb 09, 2012

    The Consequences of Toxic Uranium

    Uranium mining and milling produces massive amounts of toxic waste that can contaminate air, drinking water, and pristine rivers and streams. Virtually all uranium mining in the U.S. has occurred in sparsely populated regions of the arid west, where rainfall is often below 15 inches per year. Still, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, tailings have contaminated the groundwater at almost all U.S. mill sites. Read More
  • Feb 09, 2012

    Water & Uranium Mining

    According to the Environmental Protection Agency's TENORM Report, "Water is perhaps the most significant means of dispersal of uranium and related [radioactive materials] in the environment from mines and mine wastes...Uranium is very soluble in acidic and alkaline waters and can be transported easily from a mine site." This is of great concern. If Virginia allows uranium mining, it would be the first state to do so in the United States in a climate where rainfall exceeds evaporation. Read More
  • Feb 09, 2012

    Failed French Uranium Mining—A Model for Virginia to Emulate?

    For over 20 years, proponents of a healthy Virginia have questioned whether uranium mining has been properly conducted in regions with (geologic, hydrologic, meteorological, etc.) conditions similar to those found in Virginia. Uranium mining proponents have claimed that it has been conducted properly in France. Read More
  • Feb 09, 2012

    Video Highlights Mining Risks in Virginia

    Nowhere in America has uranium been mined or milled under humid, high-rainfall conditions like exist in Virginia. Even at arid sites in the West, where it is more feasible to contain toxic and radioactive water from mining and milling operations, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has found that tailings from uranium ore have contaminated groundwater in nearly every case. Learn more about uranium mining and the potential consequences in this video produced by The Southern Environmental Law Center and The Piedmont Environmental Council. Read More
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    Feb 09, 2012

    The Mining & Milling Process

    Learn how uranium is mined and milled. Read More