The following was written by guest blogger Michael Kovick and first appeared as a letter to the editor in The Floyd Press, July 26, 2012. Kovick is a musician and an active member of Floyd UBAN, a citizens formed group named for the goal of keeping a 30 year statewide ban on uranium mining in place.
As you know the governor of VA is pushing heavily to enable Uranium mining to proceed in Virginia. His special committee to study the issue is made up entirely of mining advocates. Citizens groups banned.
Last count shows 17 paid Virginia Uranium lobbyists in Richmond.
In this last month the governor has committed one Million $ toward more research to mining advocates.
The mining issue continues to be framed within an economic context by the corporate media.
“Can mining be done safely” is the question bantered about which refers to the time frame of an active mine.–This is simply a diversion question so that the real question of long term storage of toxic waste in a Fema designated flood zone can be ignored.
The facts are in. The National Academy of Sciences study has been presented. No viable solution for long term toxic waste storage has been offered.
Millions and millions of gallons of Virginia water would be needed to process these toxins. That water must then be contained for over 10,000 years in a Fema designated flood zone. Virginia Uranium’s solution is to provide eight -forty acre ponds each lined with plastic. These ponds have a life expectancy of 40 years in a perfect world.
Virginia Uranium’s commitment to the safety of our water is nonexistent. They would be long gone and restructured as is the history of mining companies in the US following a mining disaster. No uranium mine to date has been without a serious environmental pollution problem. Uranium mines have thus far existed only in the southwestern US where they receive one fourth as much rain as does Virginia. In addition Virginia’s underground water is virtually everywhere.
The potential for disaster is beyond horrendous.
In addition to the proposed mine at Coles Hill in Pittsylvania county we should be mindful of several other sobering facts:
- Lifting the statewide ban precludes a county by county fight to keep mining out.
- The Coles Hill site would become a processing site for out of state minerals as well, resulting in even more water and air contamination.
- Airborne contamination radius of a processing site is 50 miles.
- Water contamination within a community brings sickness and death.
- Property owners who do not own their mineral rights have no power to keep mining out.
- A frenzy of mineral rights purchases has transpired in the Blue Ridge recently.
- If the ban is not reinstated, formerly abandoned mines such as copper mines in Floyd county would become a target of profit seekers.
I have mentioned some of the tangible negatives about mining. It would seem like a no-brainer for everyone to dismiss uranium mining . Yet the industry is in league with many of our self serving politicians from Pittsylvania county supervisors on up to the governor of Virginia. We are witnessing a corporate agenda unfold that has been many years in the making:
It is no coincidence that Walter Coles, owner of the proposed mine site sits on the Board of the Roanoke River Basin Advisory Committee (RRBAC) which is tasked with delivering a recommendation to the Virginia State Assembly on whether or not to lift the Ban.
Senator Robert Hurt’s father has a monetary interest in the proposed mine.
Corporate money has propelled these individuals to political office.
The economic crisis we experience is being used as a wedge to bolster the case for mining at the expense of our habitat.
Even non-profits are afraid to take up the case against mining for fear of losing government funding. The corporate media portrays the mining foes as a small minority with their inaccurate assessments of mining resistance at public hearings.
To date, most Virginians don’t have a clue about this potential disaster. It seems to be up to those of us with our eyes open to get the word out: KEEP THE BAN!!!!!!
Raise Hell, Let ‘em know, Hell No We won’t Glow
Post notes: Read an interview I did with Kovick and other members of UBAN that appeared in the Floyd Press in January HERE. The photo above of UBAN members was taken at Floydfest last year. They had a booth this year as well.