For immediate release: December 16, 2011
Contact: Andrew Lester, 434-250-1185 or
Deborah Lovelace, 434-841-3736
Danville, VA – Today, representatives of the Roanoke River Basin Association (RRBA) and League of Individuals for the Environment, Inc. (LIFE) attended a presentation by RTI International (RTI) of its recently released report on socioeconomic impacts of a uranium mine and mill proposed 14 miles southeast of Smith Mountain Lake.
The RTI study, like the Chmura study, relied on the estimates of economic benefits provided by Virginia Uranium, Inc., a Canadian-owned company seeking to lift Virginia’s 30-year ban on uranium mining.
One of the most important conclusions of the RTI study is that “even if the mine and mill meet or exceed regulatory standards, detectable concentrations of uranium and other constituents would be released from the facility into the surrounding environment.” The study also describes the risks to the regions as “both actual environmental risks and perceived risks that could hurt the region’s reputation.”
“Although we at Roanoke River Basin Association, like other interested citizens, have not had the opportunity to read and digest this massive report, the RTI presentation this morning confirms our common-sense concerns that proposed uranium mining in our state would be detrimental to Virginia’s business climate and a threat to the public’s health, safety and welfare,” said Andrew Lester, RRBA executive director.
“We believe that a thorough analysis and venting of this report, as well as other issues, should take place over the next year or more. Further, we believe that a series of public hearings should be held throughout the state on a monthly basis for the next 18 months by an unbiased commission. Only fools rush in on a matter this monumental,” said Lester.
The study also finds that proposed uranium operations “would reduce groundwater levels in the area around the mine, and could affect nearby wells, springs, and surface water bodies.”
“The major concern for me personally is that the study concludes that the proposed operations would affect the water volumes and thus increase competition for water resources in the region. The question is how uranium mining is going to affect the water level on Smith Mountain Lake?” said Olga Kolotushkina, a part-time lake resident.
“Water is a major concern in all aspects of life from farming, businesses, industry and recreation,” agreed Deborah Lovelace, LIFE president. “We must make sure it is thoroughly studied. The state officials should insist on more studies to provide definite answers to questions not addressed in the RTI and other studies,” said Lovelace.