Uranium mining in Southside Virginia abruptly became headline news again when it was discovered that Virginia Sen. Bill Stanley had been recorded telling Pittsylvania County Supervisor, Jerry A. Hagerman, that Gov. Bob McDonnell had requested the former to lobby the Pittsylvania Board of Supervisors to table a resolution on uranium mining at its September 4th meeting.
In effect, what Bob McDonnell and his crony surrogates attempted to do was bypass the democratic process in Pittsylvania County and for now, they appear to have succeeded.
It's the latest move in Gov. McDonnell's bag of get-around-the-voter tricks that began with his move to form the "Uranium Working Group" to "be certain that uranium mining can be conducted safely and responsibly." But if McDonnell's goal, or that of the Republicans in the General Assembly, was to determine if uranium mining could be conducted "safely and responsibly," one would have assumed that the National Academy of Sciences uranium mining study group would have been allowed to make recommendations on whether or not to lift the ban, given their findings and their expertise. No such allowance was made, however.
For McDonnell, "safely and responsibly" really meant "when voters have their backs turned and their eyes off of the uranium mining issue." Thus, the Republican Party strategy for removing the ban on uranium mining in Virginia is clear: wait the issue out until the resistance has waned.
McDonnell and company also leave another implicit message: democracy is only as valued as the ends it can confer for McDonnell and his friends in the business and political world. To hell with democracy if it creates barriers to reaching their goals!
Unluckily for McDonnell, his bad karma has repeatedly blown up in his face. Luckily for Virginians, there are still public officials who put the concerns of the community and the state above parochial and self-promoting interests.
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