Additional Meeting on Uranium set for Sept. 17

Andrew Smith
Senior Assistant Director
Governmental Relations

An additional meeting has been planned on the possibility of the mining and milling or uranium in Virginia. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) will hold a public meeting on issues related to the proposal to mine and mill uranium in Virginia.

During this meeting there will be presentations by the VDH summarizing the comments and questions received to date by VDH regarding private wells and recreational water issues related to uranium mining and milling. This follows the recent set of meetings held by the VDH around the state seeking the public’s input.

In addition to the VDH, the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will make a presentation on ground water, surface water and air quality issues related to uranium mining and milling.

The public will have the opportunity to make comments at the meeting. The meeting is open to the public and pre-registration is not required.

Date: September 17, 2012
Time: 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Location: Old Dominion Agricultural Center, 19783 US Highway 29 South Chatham, VA 24531

Additional information may be found at the Uranium Working Groups website: http://www.uwg.vi.virginia.gov/

VDH Schedules More Public Discussions on Uranium

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) will hold a series of meetings to gather public input on the issues of water supply and recreational water to assess the impact of uranium mining and milling in Virginia. More specifically, VDH will collect public comments related to the following questions:

1. What are the public’s concerns about related to the impact of uranium mining and milling on water quality and quantity of private wells?

2. What are the public’s concerns related to the impact of uranium mining and milling on recreational use of surface water?

3. What role should VDH play in assuring that public health is protected in regard to private wells and recreational water use in regard to uranium mining and milling?

4. What safeguards should be in place to protect private wells and recreational water?

Evening meetings will be large meetings and VDH will receive comments from as many participants as time allows. Registration is not required to attend the public meetings that will be held in the evenings. Individuals who are unable to attend but want to submit comments or issues for consideration may do so at http://www.uwg.vi.virginia.gov/.

In addition to accepting comments in the public forum, VDH and other agencies will staff tables to provide information and collect questions and comments from the public. Staff will be available at these tables for one hour before the public meetings begin. Questions may be asked and comments made in the public forum, at the tables or both.

Schedule of VDH Large Group Meetings on Uranium Mining and Water:

August 7, 2012
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Chatham Circuit Court Building
3 North Main St. Chatham

August 15, 2012
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Warrenton The Barn, Lord Fairfax Community College
6480 College St. Warrenton

August 29, 2012
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Virginia Beach Meyera Oberndorff Library Auditorium
4100 Virginia Beach Boulevard Virginia Beach

Day-long issue discussion sessions will allow a small group of participants to engage in more focused and in-depth discussion of public concerns, health risks, and potential regulatory changes. These meetings will require participants to devote a full day to participation, and participants will be identified prior to the meetings. Although we expect that a large number of persons will be interested in serving on the discussion groups, because VDH would like to conduct a very in-depth discussion, only a small number of persons will be selected.

Members of the public who are interested in participating are invited to submit their name for participation in one of the discussion sessions listed in the schedule. A total of 15 to 20 persons will be randomly selected from the names submitted and VDH is suggesting that individuals indicate their interest or expertise in the following areas, in order to assure a robust discussion: the agricultural community, water service provider, general business community, business associated with recreational water, academic with a special knowledge of geology or groundwater, local government, or private homeowner. The only requirements for your participation are that you commit to attending the entire meeting, that you indicate your area of interest from one of the groups listed above, and that you are willing to join in an open discussion of the issues. These are public meetings and a summary of the discussion, along with a list of participants, will be made available to the public after the meetings. Please note that if you volunteer your name will be listed as a participant in the public summary of the meeting.

If you are interested please submit your name, your area of interest, address and telephone number, e-mail address and other contact information, and preferred meeting location to https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/ODW/publicmeeting. You must submit your information no later than August 3, 2012. Persons selected for participation will be notified beginning August 3 and notification of selections will be completed by August 6, 2012.

Schedule of VDH Small Group Discussion Meetings on Uranium Mining and Water:

August 8, 2012
8:00 a.m. – 4:15 p.m.
Chatham County Administration Building
1 Center St. Chatham

August 16, 2012
8:00 a.m. – 4:15 p.m.
Warrenton Warrenton Rescue Squad Building
210 Hospital Drive Warrenton, VA

August 30, 2012
8:00 a.m. – 4:15 p.m.
Virginia Beach Virginia Beach Health Department
Glass Conference Room (second floor)
4452 Corporation Lane Virginia Beach

Uranium Working Group Sets Public Meetings

The Uranium Working Group established by Governor Bob McDonnell has been busy with their work, which includes holding a series of public meetings held around the state. The most recent was held at Chatham High School in Chatham.

You will remember from previous reports, the working group was established to “to provide a scientific policy analysis to help assess whether the moratorium on uranium mining in the Commonwealth should be lifted, and if so, how best to do so.”

Virginia Farm Bureau has been monitoring the progress of the group’s work, including attending each of the public meetings. In addition, VAFB has submitted questions for consideration on the issue from an agricultural standpoint. These questions were the result of surveying each of the County Farm Bureaus for concerns they felt needed to be addressed.

We encourage all of our members to read the current reports on the issue and, if possible, participate in the public meetings. Members can access the reports and also provide comment to the working group through their website at http://www.uwg.vi.virginia.gov/

VAFB will continue to monitor the issue and keep member’s concerns before the Working Group and policy makers. The remaining public meeting dates and locations have been set except the final one, which will be held in Richmond. The actual location and date has yet to be set.

Should you have any questions or comments please contact Andrew Smith in the Governmental Relations Department at andrew.smith@vafb.com or 804-290-1021.

Remaining Public Meetings on the Uranium Working Group

• August 2, 2012 – 6 pm (joint meeting with NRC)
Old Dominion Agricultural Complex
19783 US Highway 29, Suite G
Chatham, VA 24531

• August 28, 2012 – 6 pm
Virginia Beach Convention Center
1000 19th Street
Virginia Beach, VA 23451

• October 17, 2012 – 6 pm
Old Dominion Agricultural Complex
19783 US Highway 29, Suite G
Chatham, VA 24531

• November 2012 (TBA)
Richmond, VA

Uranium hearings scheduled for summer/fall

Andrew Smith
Senior Assistant Director
Governmental Relations

Lifting the 30-year moratorium on uranium mining in Virginia continues to be a hot topic with the citizens of the Commonwealth.

Early this year, Governor Bob McDonnell established the  Uranium Working group to provide a scientific policy analysis to help assess whether the moratorium on uranium mining in the Commonwealth should be lifted, and if so, how best to do so.

Part of responsibility of this work group is to hold public hearings to provide updates and to listen to input from the public. The first of these planned hearings will be June, 18 2012, at 6 p.m. when the Virginia Coal and Energy Commission – Uranium Mining Subcommittee meet at Chatham High School, 100 Cavalier Circle, Chatham.

Interested members are encouraged to attend this meeting to learn more about the study, or provide input. The planned subject matter for this meeting is “Mine Permitting, Environmental Impact Analysis & Environmental Monitoring of Mine Sites, Disposal of Mine Waste, Mine Site Reclamation.“

Other hearings are planned for August, October and November. We will post that information as soon as it becomes available.

To follow the progress of the work group or to find additional information on uranium mining in Virginia go to the Uranium Work Group’s Website. For additional information contact me, Andrew Smith, at andrew.smith@vafb.com.

Uranium: Read the Reports

Photo by Michael Brcak

Few things have generated the headlines more than the possibility of lifting the moratorium on uranium in Virginia. The 30-year moratorium has been in place since the issue was last looked at in the 1980s. The renewed interest in nuclear energy has reignited interest by investors to attempt to gain permits to mine the largest deposit known in Virginia on the Coles Hill property in Pittsylvania County.

Virginia Farm Bureau has had a policy to have any study of the mining of uranium be conducted by the unbiased party such as the National Academy of Sciences, and then the latest policy to keep the moratorium in place until all studies are thoroughly evaluated. Governor Bob McDonnell called for just that on January 19, 2011, in a directive to state agencies to delve into the issue to gain more site-specific information.

The Uranium Working Group is a multi-agency cooperation to pull together more information to aid the General Assembly to make a more informed decision when considering lifting the moratorium. We encourage all of our members to read the reports and follow the progress of the work group. The public is also asked to participate in public forums, submit questions, and comments. Virginia Farm Bureau will be submitting questions and comments and encouraging members to do so as well.

You can monitor the work group and read the state sponsored reports that have been completed to date at the Uranium Working Groups website at http://www.uwg.vi.virginia.gov/index.shtml