Sunday, March 29, 2009

Uranium Roundup: Study Proposal, Deeds on Mining, etc

After an insanely busy week that kept me from posting much of anything, here's The Uranium Roundup, second edition. Lots to talk about this week:
  • The top story comes from Wednesday, when the Subcommittee on Uranium Mining released its tentative draft of the proposed uranium mining study objectives. The list of items to be looked at in the study is too long to list here, but most of the concerns center around health and safety, environmental/ecosystem effects, and long-term economic sustainability.  The study will take around two years and cost around $1 million. My big question: who pays for it? 
  • State Sen. Creigh Deeds has come out publicly saying that he doubts the science behind the proposed uranium mining study. This comes after Terry McAuliffe bunted on the issue early last week.
  • The Danville Register-Bee published an editorial that raises a very good point about one of the study questions--how reliable is the market demand for uranium? A sudden drop in demand for played a big part in killing the first proposed uranium mine at Coles Hill back in the 1980s. If demand for uranium is unstable, it may not be smart to tie Pittsylvania's economy to such a volatile industry. (h/t Dem Bones)
  • Virginia Uranium has hired a lobbying firm called Kemper Consulting. This development got a passing mention in an editorial in today's Virginian-Pilot out of Hampton Roads. Apparently Kemper also represents the city of Norfolk as well as an Illinois company looking to run port operations in Virginia if the state privatizes the ports, prompting conflict-of-interest concerns. Other than that, I honestly don't know anything else about Kemper.
That about does it for this week. With two of the four gubernatorial candidates having to answer uranium questions in the past week, it definitely looks like this thing is quickly becoming an election issue. Given that the study is slated to take quite a while, I wouldn't be surprised to see it turn up in 2010 as well. 

1 comment:

eileen said...

FYI... the City of Virginia Beach fired Kemper because of the conflict of interest. Both the Cities of Virginia Beach and Chesapeake voted unanimously on Resolutions in opposition to uranium mining. Folks are working on getting Norfolk to do similarly.