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Jones vows to try to keep mining ban
Friday, August 23, 2013
By PAUL COLLINS - Bulletin Staff Writer
Elizabeth Jones, Democratic candidate for 16th District House of Delegates, pledged this week that if elected, she would work to make Virginia’s uranium mining moratorium permanent.
But her Republican opponent, Les Adams, a former prosecutor, said the law does not allow a sitting legislative body to bind any successive General Assembly. “That’s why we have elections in the first place,” he said.
“I don’t believe it can be done,” he said of the proposal for a permanent uranium mining moratorium.
A news release the Jones campaign issued Monday said she “pledges that upon her election to the Virginia House of Delegates she will propose, among her first pieces of legislation, making permanent Virginia’s uranium moratorium, ending the uranium mining debate once and for all by making mining uranium and performing uranium mine explorations illegal in Virginia.”
Jones stated in the release: “Southside needs to have stability so we can begin to bring new jobs, better schools and improved health care to our region. The aura of uranium mining and the potential of heavy pollution and contaminated water are beginning to take their toll on Southside and this needs to stop.”
The release stated that Jones’ campaign “will fight to bring new jobs to Southside, without sacrificing clean water and the health and safety of future generations of Southside Virginians.”
In a phone interview, Jones said, “We know studies have not proven the safety of uranium mining.”
Adams said his position on uranium mining is the same as it was at the beginning of his campaign: He is against lifting the moratorium because there is not a consensus that uranium mining can be done safely.
Adams is a partner in the Adams, Elmore and Fisk, PLC, law firm in Chatham and formerly served as an assistant commonwealth’s attorney in Pittsylvania County, according to his campaign website.
Jones, chairwoman of the Pittsylvania County Democratic Committee, is a retired educator and also worked as Pittsylvania County assistant registrar, according to news releases.
Virginia Uranium Inc. and other proponents argue that a 119-million-pound deposit in Southside could be mined and milled safely and that it would create hundreds of jobs and revenues in a region of the state that desperately needs both, The Associated Press has reported.
It said the Pittsylvania County uranium is among the largest known deposits of the radioactive ore in the world. It is valued at $7 billion.