June 16, 2012 Chatham, VA
RE: Proposed Uranium mining activity in the Roanoke River Basin.
Seven counties and one million people in North Carolina and multiple municipalities located downstream from the proposed site of the Uranium mine and mill, draw their drinking water from the Roanoke River. The River is the lifeblood of the economy of Northeast North Carolina, drawing tourism and vacation home ownership for families from the Triangle region, Richmond and the tidewater area of Virginia Beach. A large share of local county tax revenue is derived from these activities that come from the natural beauty and clean water of the Roanoke river. Lake Gaston and Kerr Lake are home to major Bass fishing tournaments each year, home to the World champion Wakeboarder and his business and the region is home to hundreds of nesting pairs of Bald Eagles and thousands of other species of wildlife. The city of Virginia Beach draws its drinking water from Lake Gaston, supplying over 1 million Tidewater area residents including our military stationed there. The Roanoke River represents a strategic reserve water supply for the future growth of the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill area of North Carolina which is out of water available for future growth from the Neuse River basin. The majority of the water flowing into the Albemarle and Pamlico sounds comes from the Roanoke River. Impact studies to the Sound have yet to be done.
As cited in the studies done by Virginia Beach, the National Academy of Sciences and other experts, Mining uranium in a hurricane zone, that is also prone to frequent heavy downpours of rain due to the proximity to the ocean and the mountains, and located less than 90 miles from the epicenter of an earthquake of 6.0 magnitude that shut down the nuclear reactor at the Lake Anna nuclear power plant last November, is problematic and not safe for the local community or the people living downstream.
There are currently no uranium mines operating in the world in a hurricane zone. There are no “Best Practices” or “experts” to draw from, anywhere in the world, to suggest that mining uranium could be done safely at the proposed site near Chatham, VA. The American clean water act and the American Clean drinking water act provide guidance on the risk to Virginia and its taxpayers, the Canadian mining company and its shell affiliate in Virginia and the property owner, in the event of one spill of radioactive material into the river. The long term liability to Virginia exceeds $10 Billion dollars in property value loss, loss of use, replacement of drinking water and healthcare costs resulting from just one accident. North Carolina has won judgements against the state of Tennessee in the past and stands ready to persue justice in the event Virginia lifts its ban and begins mining, against all expert advice, at this site.
The NC Coalition Against Uranium Mining encourages to Governor of Virginia, the elected officials in the legislature and the Uranium mining working group to do the right thing for all concerned citizens in Virginia and North Carolina and Keep the Ban on uranium mining in place.