Sunday, February 27, 2011

Blame Canada: Another Dirty Energy Threat

Just two days ago, I was telling you about the threat posed by Canadian tar sands giant TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline proposal. Today Mary Rafferty of the Sierra Club Virginia Chapter has an op-ed in the Danville Register & Bee detailing how another energy company with ties north of the border wants to play a high stakes game with Virginia's uranium deposits:
Uranium mining would benefit other nations, not America: Despite the downhome name, Virginia Uranium Inc. is a majority-Canadian owned company.

While some of the uranium mined and milled in Virginia might eventually be sold in this country, it will be part of a global market. If extracted and processed today, uranium from Coles Hill would most likely be sent to countries with the highest demand, mainly China and India. According to a letter published last week, VUI’s lead lobbyist Whitt Clement even agrees that uranium produced in Virginia may not stay in America.

All that can be guaranteed to stay in Virginia is the 29 million tons of mill tailing waste that would be created by the project.
What's "mill tailing waste"? This by-product of uranium mining needs to be stored for up to 1,000 years because it's radioactive and harms human health. It's worth repeating: This one project at Coles Hill would generate up to 29 million tons of radioactive mill tailings waste, plus associated waste water and chemicals in the tailings.

While the uranium industry would have us believe we have to choose between a healthy environment & a thriving economy, the truth is the two are interdependent. The real question is whether Southside will choose a clean energy future - or sign its future over to the uranium mining industry.
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