Drinking water not at risk from mining

Published January 23, 2013

Overblown fears about uranium mining are much ado about nothing in regards to justifying an out of date ban on uranium mining (Keep uranium mining ban, Sen. Ruff says, Jan. 14). 

Uranium mining has been performed safely all over the world for decades, and there’s little evidence to suggest Virginia would be any different. Those who point out Virginia’s wet environment should be made aware of the regulations already in place to properly manage that condition. 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a measure called the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), and it requires industrial facilities in Virginia to obtain an NPDES permit through the State of Virginia.

Compliance with this program would effectively prevent storm water discharge from uranium mining facilities from threatening groundwater. In addition to EPA, seven other state and federal regulatory agencies have authority to oversee the rest of the uranium mining and milling process.

Continuing a ban on one of Virginia’s best natural resources, while also depriving the nation of an efficient and abundant carbon-free source of electricity would be irresponsible energy policy on behalf of the Virginia legislature.

[First published in The Gazette-Virginian.]