SoVaNow.com / April 19, 2012
More North Carolinians are joining the fight against uranium mining in their neighbor to the north, Virginia — and the issue is being raised in political forums for state-level candidates.
The North Carolina Coalition Against Uranium Mining has formed to oppose what it says are threats to the drinking water of about 1.9 million people in the two states.
Among the requests by the group is that North Carolinians be added to the roster of Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s uranium working group, which was formed to draw up draft regulations should the ban be lifted.
The group’s president is Mike Pucci of Littleton, N.C.
The issue is also graining traction as a political issue.
At a recent candidate forum in Halifax County, N.C., State Sen. Ed Jones, Rep. Michael Wray and James Mills, who is challenging Wray, said they were adamantly opposed to a mine in Virginia. House challenger Jesse Shearin did not comment.
Opponents question whether uranium can be mined safely and whether the mine site can be adequately protected for thousands of years. Plans call for uranium tailings to be stored at the mine, underground. Critics fear that a single significant earthquake, a powerful hurricane or sloppy government oversight could forever contaminate the watershed east of the site.