What's this blog really about?

You may notice a variety of topics here - from business, to charity promotion, even to local news, but the primary reason this blog was created was to alert readers to the hostile atmosphere and sexual harassment at The Danville Register & Bee. The readers and creator of this blog want a FULL FRONT PAGE apology in the Danville Register & Bee, plus the disciplining of those individuals involved. Until then, we'll continue to post regular updates. To tolerate THIS kind of behavior by a major media network is intolerable. And this isn't just ONE instance. Media General has been sued nationwide for racism and sexism, yet they CONTINUE to keep the offenders employed. Why? And why am I doing this? TRUTH compels me.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Brilliantly written opinion piece in Star Tribue

If you like reading unedited opinion pieces, don't miss this one from Anne Cockrell in The Star Tribune. The Tribune tends not to hack up their editorial submissions to fit the amount of space that have. They care about content, not just butchering a letter to make it fit. Well written. Whatever side of the uranium mining in Virgina issue you're own, this is outstanding.

A Little Puff?' - a focus on the absurdity of uranium mining

Wednesday, November 26, 2008 10:08 AM EST

Patrick Wales, a Virginia Uranium Inc. geologist, has been often quoted in Virginia newspapers of late. Some of what he has said has been variations of the truth; some statements have been absolutely absurd.

Let's focus on the absurd, shall we?

Wales was quoted in the Danville Register & Bee (Report tackles lobbying efforts, J. R. Crane, November 24, 2008) as saying: "That's what we're up against as a small, locally-owned company... [VUI] has a very difficult, uphill battle."

Calling VUI a small, locally-owned company is laughable. Small in employee numbers, it may be, but it's a company incorporated in the Yukon Province of Canada that has millions of foreign-backed dollars to help achieve VUI's objective: overturn Virginia's moratorium on uranium mining and begin mining in Southside Virginia.

VUI's $100,000 payment to lobbyists was well within the company's financial means, and Wales knows this.

In fact, it paid off. Lobbyists were successful in getting the Virginia Coal and Energy Commission to go before the Richmond General Assembly (Nov. 6, 2008) and push through a uranium mining study for Southside Virginia - one that had died a legislative death in a House committee on March 3, 2008.

So much for "a very difficult uphill battle."

In the Martinsville Bulletin, an article ran following Wales' address to the Martinsville Rotary Club (Virginia Uranium geologist touts benefits of mining, K. Barto, Wednesday, November 19, 2008).

The article stated: "The Coles' property, which is a 'historic structure,' sits between the two uranium deposits, and the family plans to continue living there while mining goes on, Wales said."

I wonder if the Rotarians really believed Walter Coles (VUI's founder) and his family are going to live in a house between two operational uranium mines where there will be daily surface blasting of low-level radioactive bedrock.

Even if the miners bubble-wrapped the house and were able to save it from flying rock projectiles or, by some miracle, kept it standing post 30 years' endurance of surface-blast vibrations, it would still lose its allure when viewed through the chain-link fence which will one day surround the former Coles Hill homestead.

On the fence, the Department of Energy's radiation hazard signs will warn folks to stay away from this U.S. government-owned property. That's the only entity that will have any use for this land once all mining and milling of uranium ceases, and this is only because it will become a superfund site.

How can I make that assumption?

Wales spoke of the "worst-case scenario," the Canonsburg Mill site in Canonsburg, Pa.

Per the article: "In the mid-1980s, the Department of Energy cleaned up the site and contained the waste in a disposal area lined with soil and clay barriers. Since then, Wales said, 'Not one milling-related constituent has shown up in a nearby creek.'"

Now, this is the very same site that Walter Coles has previously touted to be a place where uranium was milled "successfully east of the Mississippi."

In reality, it's an 18.6 acre plat of acreage that is now a $48 million superfund site. Today, this site stores 376,000 cubic yards of contaminated material behind a fenced-in area. It will be monitored in perpetuity to protect Pennsylvanians from the radioactive wastes buried there.

Wales and VUI plans to mine uranium out of Walter Coles' 900-acre-property (plus annexing and mining additional acreage belonging to surrounding families) once the state's moratorium is lifted.

If it cost $48 million to remediate an 18.6-acre plat of land where uranium was milled, one has to wonder what the price tag will be for cleaning up over a thousand acres once uranium is both mined and milled at Coles Hill.

Big question: Who will pay the remediation costs?

Perhaps it's the "new technology" that gave Wales the confidence to make yet another absurd statement regarding mine tailings (the leftover mined rock that must be buried or submerged in holding ponds to try and contain its radioactivity.

Per the article: "He explained that tailings are contained in a pit underground, removing any interaction between the tailings and the atmosphere,' he said."

Well, isn't the low-level radioactive bedrock going to come in contact with the atmosphere when it is surface-blasted out of the ground over a period of 30 years? This is VUI's proposed timetable to mine at Coles Hill.

How about the milling process where mined rock will be ground into a fine powdery state for ore extraction?

Think it will all be done in a clean, sterile, indoor environment? No, open-pit/surface-blast mining implies just that.

The daily, successive explosive blasts and milling process will create a continuous low-level radioactive fallout which will be carried by the winds onto food and water sources and into the airways of man and all other animal life unfortunate enough to be downwind from the mine.

When asked in the article about how far dust would blow from the mining operations, Wales stated, "If you use underground mining, it's a moot point...even it other methods are used [surface-blast], there is very little dust. There may be a little puff when blasting."

A little puff?

Wales, VUI and anyone who believes surface-blast mining will create only "a little puff" should google and watch the Mountaintop Removal Movie (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPixjCneseE).

It's an eight-minute video with Woody Harrelson (sitcom actor of "Cheers") discussing the sad demise of 450 mountains along the Appalachian Mountain chain where surface-blast mining is being used for coal removal.

It clearly illustrates that surface-blast mining creates more than "a little puff" of dust. It also speaks of the enduring hardships of the people living adjacent to these mined areas.

Lastly, Wales stated: "We feel confident that there are many examples around the world of how it's [uranium mining] done safely."

Uranium mining opponents simply ask Wales and VUI to name five of these places where uranium mining and milling has not caused adverse effects to the surrounding people and environment.

Funny, Wales didn't offer up an example.

Stay tuned. Let's see him name even one.

Anne Cockrell,

Southside Concerned

Citizens member


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