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Chamber praised for anti-uranium efforts

Executive Director of the Roanoke River Basin Association Andrew Lester and Secretary of We The People of Virginia Sarah Dunavant presented the Halifax County Chamber of Commerce with a certificate of appreciation Thursday afternoon during their monthly meeting. The presentation took place at the Southern Virginia Higher Education Innovation Center.

A recent report revealed that Virginia Uranium spent $572,000 lobbying Virginia public officials last  year — the most of any group in Virginia during each of the last five years, and as much as the next top two spenders, Dominion Power and Altria, combined, according to Lester. 

 “VUI spent all the money, despite the fact that a socio-economic analysis authorized by the Virginia Coal and Energy Commission concluded that uranium mining could trigger an $11 billion loss statewide under a worst-case scenario, nearly twice as much as the hoped-for positive impact under the study’s best-case scenario. This worst-case scenario was based on a uranium price of $45 per pound, but this summer, the industry’s spot price reached a seven-year low of about $35 per pound,” Lester said.

Dunavant added, “Toxic waste and radioactive contamination created by the extraction and processing of uranium have been linked to increases in leukemia, kidney disease and other severe heath problems. 

“A contamination failure at the first proposed site at Coles Hill could result in the contamination of local groundwater sources and downstream drinking water sources for over 1.9 million people. With all this on the line, it is up to our coalition to defend our state and our communities. We hope that you will reaffirm your commitment to the moratorium, and again, thank you for all your support,” she told chamber directors. 

Roanoke River Basin Association and We The People of Virginia are members of the Keep The Ban Coalition.