Danville City Council unites against uranium mining

BY MARY BETH JACKSON mjackson@registerbee.com (434) 791-7981 | Posted: Thursday, January 3, 2013 9:17 pm

Danville City Council unanimously agreed Thursday to support Virginia’s 1982 moratorium on uranium mining and milling.

Several cities, towns and counties across Virginia and North Carolina have also taken stands against lifting the moratorium. Council members said they were glad the city had weighed in.

“I just want to say I’m very proud of the city for taking a position,” said Councilman Fred Shanks.

Councilman Lee Vogler agreed.

“People elected us to lead, and that’s what we’re doing,” he said. “It sends a message to the legislators.”

Virginia Uranium wants to mine a 119-million pound uranium ore deposit in Pittsylvania County near Chatham called Coles Hill. The General Assembly will take up the issue in its session, which starts Wednesday. State Sen. John Watkins, R-Powhatan, said he will sponsor legislation to direct the state to write regulations for uranium mining and milling, effectively lifting the 32-year hold.

Noting his pleasure with the agreement of the council, Councilman Gary Miller said more local physicians have come forward to voice their opposition to mining and milling, bringing the total to 60. A local cardiologist, Miller has been circulating petitions among local doctors and medical professionals asking them to ask Virginia to keep its moratorium on uranium mining.

Miller asked colleagues at two meetings to sign a two-part questionnaire about the moratorium, with the first question asking whether they were against uranium mining and the second asking if they would leave the area if mining were approved.

“There were people calling me up wanting to sign it,” he said.
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