Chamber seeks mining study input
- October 30, 2008
The Halifax County Chamber of Commerce is asking residents to submit questions for an expected state study on the benefits and risks of
A study proposed during this year’s Virginia General Assembly session died in committee. However, Del. Clarke Hogan, R-Halifax, expects the
proposal to be revived and approved during the next session.
Virginia has maintained a moratorium on uranium mining since the early 1980s, but demand for the radioactive material is growing as interest
in nuclear power revives. Walter Coles Sr., president of Virginia Uranium LLC, wants to mine a deposit estimated to contain 110 million
pounds of uranium on his Pittsylvania County farm near Chatham. Many area residents and environmentalists, however, oppose uranium mining as
a potential health and environmental hazard.
At Hogan’s recommendation, Halifax County Chamber officials decided to ask local residents to submit questions they would like to see in a
state study. “We just feel that we want to get out in front of it,” says Chamber President Nancy Pool.
Uranium mining is controversial in Halifax because the county is downstream from Coles’ farm. Nonetheless, the Halifax Chamber has not taken
a position on uranium mining or a study. “There’s a significant amount of misinformation out there, and there are also those that are totally
uninformed,” Pool says. “We just want to give our local residents an opportunity to play a part in determining what is covered by this
By contrast, the Danville-Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce declined Hogan’s request to gather study questions. Laurie Moran, the
chamber’s president, says that her board supports the involvement of local residents but doesn’t think the organization should serve as a
middle man. The chamber supports a neutral and comprehensive study of uranium mining.