Worst of the Week: McDonnell dodges citizen input on uranium mining
January 20, 2012
Virginia conservation groups are vocalizing their disappointment with Governor McDonnell's decision to write uranium legislation behind closed doors in a new release. In it, Lisa Guthrie, Executive Director of the Virginia League of Conservation Voters, stated, "On behalf of Virginians across the Commonwealth, we are disappointed by the approach which bypasses the citizens' elected representatives in the House and Senate. It is unprecedented to undercut the legislature and move forward with uranium regulations without the General Assembly having acted. This is a decision that should be made by the people of Virginia and their elected legislators that represent them."
Progressive Point: Despite intense pro-uranium lobbying, Virginia representatives on both sides of the aisle agree that keeping the ban on uranium mining is essential for protecting Virginia. To sneak around this, Bob McDonnell is attempting behind closed doors what he knows he couldn't do in the General Assembly.
Avoiding transparency is always wrong, but when it puts the safety our families and our environment at risk it is intolerable. Our representatives are elected to debate serious matters of public safety like uranium mining in the light of day in the General Assembly. Bob McDonnell's attempts to avoid our democratic process are disrespectful and contrary to the Commonwealth's common good.
Keeping the ban on uranium mining is not a partisan issue--it is a matter of safety. Representatives on both sides of the aisle agree that keeping the ban is integral in ensuring our security, and Bob McDonnell must respect that.
Get the Facts:
- Del. Donald Merricks, Del. Danny Marshall III, Del. James Edmunds, Del. Tommy Wright, and Sen. Frank Ruff all said in a letter to Virginia's General Assembly that the risk of uranium mining to the people of Virginia and its environment is too great and that the ban should not be lifted. (Virginian-Pilot, January 3, 2012)
- A recent NAS study validated the concern that a flood, hurricane, or earthquake could result in an uncontrolled release at a uranium facility--all three of which Virginia has experienced this year. (Cale Jaffe, senior attorney, Southern Environmental Law Center, Keep the Ban, December 19, 2011)