Heartland Institute Reacts to Bill to Lift Uranium Mining Moratorium in Virginia

Published December 5, 2012

Virginia State Sen. John C. Watkins (R-Powhatan) announced this week he will sponsor a bill in 2013 to lift Virginia’s moratorium on uranium mining. Gov. Bob McDonnell’s Uranium Working Group, which formed in January, issued its final report Friday. It did not make any recommendation about Virginia’s mining ban, which has been in place since 1982, and has stopped the development of the Coles Hill Mine near Chatham.

The following statements from energy policy experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. Heartland will be releasing a policy brief on uranium mining in Virginia in early 2013. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Tammy Nash at [email protected] and 312/377-4000. After regular business hours, contact Jim Lakely at [email protected] and 312/731-9364.
“Few potential locations for what will likely be among the 10 largest uranium mines in the world have been studied so meticulously. The bottom line for Virginia is that the Coles Hill Mine would truly create zero risk for either the environment or the people working in or living near or downstream from it.
“What it will do is create many jobs for Virginians, improve its economy, and insure that the nation’s 104 nuclear power plants will have an efficient supply of fuel for decades to come from domestic sources.”
Science Director
The Heartland Institute

“If the moratorium is lifted, currently eight different state and federal agencies have authority to regulate the entire uranium mining and milling process. Given the overwhelmingly safe track record of uranium mining, additional regulations would likely exceed the existing risk.

“The nature of responsible lawmaking is not just making sure the proper scientific study is completed before deciding on a contentious issue. That’s important, but letting such study reach excess is irresponsible to, and overlooks those in Southside Virginia who are struggling every day to find work.
“Lawmakers looking to build platforms in favor of energy independence and lower carbon emissions cannot ignore Sen. Watkins legislation.”
Policy Analyst
The Heartland Institute

The Heartland Institute is a 28-year-old national nonprofit organization headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.