It sounds like a vote against uranium mining, but that’s not exactly true.
You’d think, with Governor Bob McDonnell having just announced that he doesn’t want the General Assembly to take any action this year toward lifting a ban on uranium mining in Virginia, that mining proponents would boo while environmentalists cheered.
Instead, green groups continue to fret, at least a little. A consultant to the Southern Environmental Law Center, Bob Burnley, said that "The details of the announcement raise some concerns." See, the gov wants to work on developing a "regulatory construct" that could support safe mining, and his continuation of the moratorium is temporary.
"Drafting regulations now would be putting the cart before the horse," said Chris Miller of the Piedmont Environmental Council to the Washington Post. Environmentalists point to a National Academy of Sciences/National Academy of Engineering study that warned of "steep hurdles" to mining safely.
Meanwhile, Virginia Uranium–the company that aims to mine in Pittsylvania County–said through its spokesperson Patrick Wales that “the governor’s decision is an important step toward establishing a regulatory framework that will enable our company to build and operate the safest uranium mine in the world right here in Virginia."
So it starts to sound almost like mining has a green light. Everyone’s posturing, for sure, and it’s hard to say how it’ll shake out. At the very least, more public comment is absolutely in order.