Hurt Hides Position On New Study, Refuses to Support a Federal Ban
Chatham, VA – In response to the Heritage Foundation’s call to "Allow Uranium Mining in Virginia," Congressional Challenger General John Douglass issued the following statement:
“I reject the Heritage Foundation study, which attempts to contextualize away the serious concerns of my fellow Virginians about the risk of radioactive waste that threatens our drinking water and air we breathe, because I know from my years in uniform that our safety comes first. So I hope that my opponent has the guts to unequivocally denounce this right wing group’s promotion of dangerous uranium mining in Virginia, give up his contributions from Virginia Uranium Inc. investors and support a federal ban on mining near residential communities once and for all.”
Heritage Foundation releases report, entitled "Time to Allow Uranium Mining in Virginia."
Heritage Foundation, a “right-wing think tank best known in recent years for advocating Social Security privatization during the Bush administration,” according to Mother Jones magazine. Despite echoing the sentiments of Virginia Uranium Inc. investors that bankroll Congressman Hurt’s campaign, the report reveals some pretty shocking assertions:
• Mining poses risks to workers and families. "Uranium mining has two specific challenges—those associated with any mining operation and protecting workers and the public from radiation exposure."
• NRC allows less preferred disposal of radioactive waste. “Tailings… remain radioactive for thousands of years… which produce radon gas… Though the highly preferred option is underground disposal, the NRC allows surface containment ponds under certain circumstances.”
• Costs of worst case exceed benefits. “In the very worst case, in widespread contamination and severe environmental impact far exceeding federal regulations along with a reduced price for uranium, would the Coles Hill endeavor be one where costs exceed benefits • Those concerned are “antidevelopment”, “fear tactics,” “defeatist.” “..anti-development activists to easily exploit the report…fear tactics are still influencing the debate… Defeatist thinking will deny southern Virginia critical economic activities.”
• VUI-funded study of risks is “negative” and “irrelevant.” “The report was by design, then, a negative analysis that purposely offered no beneficial consequences of uranium mining and was essentially irrelevant to what was specifically being proposed in Virginia.”
• Economic benefits are uncertain. “No one is certain yet if mining at Coles Hill is economically viable… no evidence that uranium elsewhere in the state is economical to develop.”
• Mining won’t solve south-side job loss. “Southside has suffered from the steady retreat of industries, like tobacco farming and furniture manufacturing, which once sustained the region. Uranium mining will not solve these problems.”
• Foreign countries profit. “VUI is a private company created and run by the Coles family and neighboring Bowen family with investors from Canada… should have no bearing on the General Assembly’s decision
• Legislators should review “manipulated” studies. “Many of the studies have been manipulated… Therefore, it is critical that each Virginia policymaker take the time to review each study.”
• Investors, not legislators, should make mining decisions. "The job of the Assembly should not be to ban [mining]... private investors can determine whether the mining is worth pursuing."
*The full report can be found on the website for the Heritage Foundation.
Gen. John Douglass is running for Congressinthe 5th District to help Virginia families get a fair chance at a better future after serving our country on President Reagan’s National Security Council and then as President Clinton’s Assistant Secretary of the Navy, before going on to promote air and space policies that grow our economy by creating manufacturing jobs and keeping our skies safe.
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