Rift over Va. uranium mining cuts across party lines

Virginia uranium mining General Assembly debate

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Bills introduced in the Virginia General Assembly last week would lift a moratorium on uranium mining in the state reported to have the largest uranium ore deposits in the United States, The New York Times reports.

The controversy has deepened as opponents, buoyed by a 2011 National Academy of Sciences report that warned of “significant human health” hazards due to the state’s “frequent storms,” have dug in to stop mining. Supporters of uranium mining have reports of their own to lean on, in addition to some powerful lawmakers.

The state senate minority leader, a Democrat, has come out in support of uranium mining, while the Republican governor, who once promised to make the state the “Energy capital of the East Coast,” according to the Times, has not taken a position publicly on the issue. Virginia Uranium has spent heavily on lobbying to influence lawmakers, the Times reports, but the Republican lieutenant governor, who will cast the deciding vote in the event of a tie, has said he opposes uranium mining in Virginia.

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