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Delegate urges opponents of uranium to stay vigilant

Although Sen. John Watkins has withdrawn for consideration his legislation that would lift Virginia’s 30 plus year moratorium on uranium mining, one local legislator said concerned citizens and opponents should not let their guard down.

Del. James Edmunds said it appears Watkins’ decision to yank his bill ends the possibility of the ban being lifted this year through legislation this session.

However, the focus now has shifted to the governor who is being asked to use the Administrative Process Act to bring the uranium mining issue back to the forefront by directing his agencies to address uranium opponents’ questions “via duly adopted regulations.” 

Halifax Town Manager Carl Espy said last week the uranium fight is “like playing uranium whack-a-mole. We must stay vigilant for the next mole’s appearance.”

Edmunds expressed appreciation to those citizens in his district who have spent countless hours making phone calls, writing emails and letters and taking their personal time to come to Richmond to make their voices heard.  

“This time, the system worked as is intended, and the voice of the people was heard,” he added.

Referring to a comment made by Virginia Uranium Inc. Project Manager Patrick Wales after Watkins pulled his bill on Thursday that “the company will continue to make our case to the people and the legislature for as long as it takes to succeed,” Edmunds warned opponents of uranium mining to remain vigilant and prepare for next year. 

He suggested uranium opponents who have closely followed this process should now contact the governor’s office at 804-786-2211 to request Gov. Bob McDonnell not take any action on advancing this project this year.

Also Edmunds pointed to a uranium mining poll on the Bearing Drift website trying to gauge those in favor compared to those opposed to uranium mining.

The statewide poll can be found on the web at  

“This is a statewide poll, and Southern Virginia’s voice needs to be heard,” Edmunds said.